Human blood consists of different types of cells namely the red blood cell, white blood cell and platelets. Formation of blood cells occurs as early as the third week of gestation. After birth bone marrow is the only site for production of blood cells, although in case of extreme need liver and spleen can contribute some amount. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue in bones. Blood cells generally form in bone marrow of hip bones, and long bone of thigh and leg.
Red blood cells are essential for transporting oxygen to tissues and organs, white blood cells act as body guard to fight bacteria and other foreign bodies while platelets help the clotting mechanism.Healthy blood cells are needed for sustaining life. Disorder of blood cells can affect health of a person. It is therefore important to understand the types, causes and symptoms of blood cell disorders to protect the health.
Various Types Of Blood Cell Disorders
There are several types of blood cell disorders that can affect the well being of a person. Some of the common blood cell disorders are as follows:
Disorders affecting red blood cells:
Red blood cells are vital for each and every tissue and organ of the body as they provide oxygen and various other nutrients for survival.Anemia is one of the most common red blood cell disorders. There are various types of anemia, but iron deficiency anemia is the most common among masses.
- Iron deficiency anemia is caused due to deficiency of mineral iron in blood. Iron helps in formation of hemoglobin, a protein which carries oxygen that you breathe in to cells and organs. Iron deficiency anemia is common in developing countries due to lack of proper nutrition. Both sexes and all ages are affected, although it is more common in pregnant women, females in reproductive age and children during the phase of rapid growth.
- Megaloblastic anemia is also common in many people. It is caused due to vitamin B12 and folate deficiency. Poor intake of food consisting vitamin B12 and folate is responsible for this type of anemia. Poor absorption, poor intake of nutritious food, infection and pregnancy are important causes of megaloblastic anemia.
- Hereditary anemias are less common. They are present since birth. Such types of anemia are passed from parents to children as a genetic disorder. The classical example is thalassaemia and sickle cell anemia.
Disorder of white blood cells:
White blood cells protect the body against harmful pathogens. Disorders of white blood cell can result in excess of white blood cell production or too less white blood cells. Diseases such as leukemia and infection cause excess production of white blood cells. White blood cells are low in certain conditions, especially in viral fever.
Disorders of platelets:
Platelets help in clotting mechanism. It forms a plug after an injury thus preventing excess of bleeding. Low platelet count can thus be dangerous as even a minor injury can lead to severe bleeding. Thrombocytopenia is low platelet count. Too many platelets can increase the thickening of blood and can be a cause for artery blockage. Excess of platelet can cause a disease called polycythemia vera.
Symptoms Of Blood Cell Disorders
The symptoms of blood cell disorder are different. The symptoms of red blood cell may not be the same as those of white blood cell disorder or platelet disorder.
Symptoms of red blood cell disorder:
- Too much tiredness and fatigue.
- Pale skin, conjunctiva and tongue.
- Shortness of breath.
- Poor concentration.
- Giddiness and numbness.
- Tingling sensation in extremities.
- Smooth and beafy tongue.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Diarrhea and constipation alternating.
Symptoms of white cell disorder:
- Unreasonable weight loss
Symptoms of platelet disorder:
- Peticheal hemorrhage.
- Slight trauma can cause excessive bleeding.
- Blood does not clot easily after injury or dental surgery.
- Abnormal bleeding from gums and nose.
Treatment Options For Blood Cell Disorders
Treatment of blood cell disorder depends on the type of disorder. For example in red blood cell disorder caused due to iron deficiency supplementary iron therapy may be useful in increasing the red blood cell count as well as hemoglobin. Patient should eat healthy diet consisting iron. Green leafy vegetables, fish, egg, lean meat are rich source of iron. Vitamin B12 deficiency may be corrected with supplemental vitamin B12.
In case of white blood cell disorder antibiotics are beneficial if the underlying cause for the increase is infection. Leukemia and other disorders may need necessary medications and chemotherapy.
If the underlying cause is bone marrow damage, patient may need bone marrow transplantation. This involves transferring stem cells from the donor in the bone marrow of the patient. Blood transfusion may also be one of the options in some cases of blood cell disorder.