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Blood Disorders

Blood Disorders

What is blood disorders?

A blood disorder is any condition that impacts one or more parts of the blood, usually interfering with its ability to work correctly.

Many blood disorders take their name from the component of the blood they impact.

The following categories describe blood disorders that cause a decrease in blood components or affect their function:

  • anemia– if the disorder involves red blood cells
  • leukopenia – if the disorder affects white blood cells
  • thrombocytopenia – if the disorder concerns platelets

Categories of blood disorders that increase blood components are:

  • erythrocytosis – if the disorder involves red blood cells
  • leukocytosis – if the disorder affects white blood cells
  • thrombocythemia or thrombocytosis – if the disorder concerns platelets
Symptoms of a blood disorder

Symptoms depend on what part of the blood or organs is affected, as well as the severity and extent of the condition.

However, the majority of people with significant blood disorders tend to experience a general feeling of being unwell for no apparent reason.

Signs of white blood cell disorders include:

  • frequent infections
  • wounds that do not heal or are slow to heal
  • unexplained exhaustion
  • unexplained weight loss

Signs of red blood cell disorders include:

  • unexplained exhaustion
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • rapid heartbeat
  • muscle weakness
  • difficulty concentrating and remembering
  • paleness

Signs of platelet and clotting disorders include:

  • difficulty forming blood clots at wounds or controlling bleeding
  • injuries that are slow to heal or keep re-opening
  • unexplainable bruising or skin that easily bruises
  • unexplainable bleeding from the nose, gums, gastrointestinal system, or urogenital system
When to see your doctor?

Many blood disorders can affect different components of the blood, including the white blood cells, red blood cells, and plasma.

Symptoms vary according to the type of blood disorder a person has, but most include general feelings of being unwell with no apparent cause, unexplained exhaustion, and unexplained weight loss.

Treatments vary depending on the type and severity of the condition but will often include chemotherapy or radiation therapy.