National Aplastic Anemia Awareness

Aplastic anemia can strike any person of any age, gender or race, in any neighborhood, anywhere in the world.  These life-threatening non contagious diseases affect thousands of men, women, and children every year.

In most cases, the cause of the disease is unknown. One known cause is an autoimmune disorder, where the white blood cells attack the bone marrow. Aplastic anemia occurs when the bone marrow stops making enough blood-forming stem cells. Patients with aplastic anemia typically have low blood cell counts in all three blood lines – red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.  Upon examination, the bone marrow is found to be hypoplastic or aplastic, meaning low growth or no growth of blood-forming stem cells.  Chromosomal abnormalities are not typically found in these instances.

Symptoms: The symptoms of aplastic anemia can include increased bleeding, bruising, petechiae, susceptibility to infections, and shortness of breath, fatigue, decreased alertness, dizziness and lingering illness.

Incidence and Diagnosis:  Although aplastic anemia can appear at any age, it is diagnosed more often in children and young adults.  Diagnosis begins with a review of your history and symptoms, and then your doctor will obtain a Complete Blood Count (CBC) and finally a bone marrow biopsy.

Treatments: Treating immune-mediated aplastic anemia involves suppression of the immune system, an effect achieved by daily medicine intake, or, in more severe cases, a bone marrow transplant, and a potential cure. The transplanted bone marrow replaces the failing bone marrow cells with new ones from a matching donor.

Untreated aplastic anemia is an illness that leads to rapid death, typically within six months. If the disease is diagnosed correctly and initial treatment is begun promptly, then the survival rate for the next five to ten years is substantially improved, and many patients live well beyond that length of time. Occasionally, milder cases of the disease can resolve on its own.

Vitamins/Herbs for treatment: 

  1. Iron Supplements – Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia.
  2. Vitamin C  – increases Iron absorption, essential in the treatment of anemia.
  3. Yellow Dock – has modest amounts of Iron that are well absorbed and can help to raise Iron levels in the blood.
  4. Dandelion – is used in the treatment of anemia as it may enhance the body’s ability to absorb Iron from foods or supplements.
  5. Vitamin B12 and Folate are essential for cell replication and particularly important for red blood cell production which is crucial to the treatment of anemia.

Education regarding this disease is a crucial key to early diagnosis and early treatment leading to fewer complications and a better prognosis.  The following resources will help you stay informed of the latest developments in Aplastic Anemia diagnosis and treatment.

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