• MC-2072 - Logo
  • MC-2072 - Logo
  • Awards & Certifications assuring the highest level of medical and service quality.

Aplastic Anemia

What is aplastic anemia?

Aplastic anemia occurs when the bone marrow produces too few of all three types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. A reduced number of red blood cells causes hemoglobin to drop. A reduced number of white blood cells makes the patient susceptible to infection. And, a reduced number of platelets causes the blood not to clot as easily.

What causes aplastic anemia?

Aplastic anemia has multiple causes. Some of these causes are idiopathic, meaning they occur sporadically for no known reason. Other causes are secondary, resulting from a previous illness or disorder. Acquired causes, however, may include the following:

  • history of specific infectious diseases such as hepatitis, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), parvovirus B19, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • history of taking certain medications, such as antibiotics and anticonvulsants
  • exposure to certain toxins, such as heavy metals
  • exposure to radiation
  • history of an autoimmune disease, such as lupus
  • inherited condition
Treatment for aplastic anemia:

Specific treatment for aplastic anemia will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference

Aplastic anemia is a serious illness and treatment usually depends on the underlying cause. For certain causes, recovery can be expected after treatment, however, relapses can occur. To treat the low blood counts, initially treatment is usually supportive, meaning that it is necessary to treat the symptoms but not possible to cure the disease. Supportive therapy may include:

  • blood transfusion (both red blood cells and platelets)
  • preventative antibiotic therapy
  • meticulous hand washing
  • special care to food preparation (such as only eating cooked foods)
  • avoiding construction sites which may be a source of certain fungi
  • medications (to stimulate the bone marrow to produce cells)
  • immunosuppressive therapy
  • hormone therapy