Diagnosis and Treatment of Blood Disorders

Diagnosis and Treatment of Blood Disorders

Blood disorders, also known as hematologic disorders, encompass a wide range of conditions that affect the components of blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. These disorders can have significant impacts on a person's overall health and quality of life. There are many types of blood disorders – some are benign or non cancerous whereas some are malignant. The most common blood disorders include:

Benign blood disorders refer to non-cancerous conditions that affect the blood or its components. While these disorders can still cause health issues, they are generally not life-threatening and do not spread to other parts of the body. Here are some examples of common benign blood disorders:

  • Anaemia
    Anaemia is a condition characterised by a decrease in the number of red blood cells or a reduced amount of haemoglobin, which impairs the blood's ability to carry oxygen to the body's tissues. Causes of anaemia include iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, chronic diseases, and genetic disorders. Treatment often involves addressing the underlying cause and may include iron supplements, vitamin B12 injections, blood transfusions, or medications to stimulate red blood cell production.
  • Haemophilia
    Haemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder caused by a deficiency or dysfunction of clotting factors in the blood, typically factors VIII or IX. Individuals with haemophilia experience prolonged bleeding, both internally and externally, even from minor injuries. Treatment involves replacing the deficient clotting factor through regular infusions of factor concentrates.
  • Thrombocytopenia
    Thrombocytopenia refers to a low platelet count in the blood, which can result in easy bruising and excessive bleeding. It can be caused by various factors, including autoimmune disorders, medication side effects, and certain cancers. Treatment depends on the underlying cause and may involve medications to boost platelet production, blood transfusions, or immune-suppressing drugs.
  • Leukopenia
    Leukopenia is characterized by a decreased white blood cell count, which can make individuals more susceptible to infections. It can be caused by certain medications, autoimmune diseases, viral infections, or bone marrow disorders. Treatment involves addressing the underlying cause and may include medication adjustments or immune-stimulating therapies.
  • Sickle Cell Disease
    Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder characterised by abnormal haemoglobin, causing red blood cells to become rigid and sickle-shaped. These misshapen cells can obstruct blood flow, leading to severe pain, organ damage, and increased susceptibility to infections. Treatment focuses on managing symptoms and preventing complications through medications and blood transfusions.
  • Polycythemia Vera
    Polycythemia vera is a rare blood disorder characterised by the overproduction of red blood cells. This excess thickens the blood, impeding its flow and increasing the risk of blood clots. Treatment involves therapeutic phlebotomy, a procedure that removes excess blood, as well as medications to reduce the production of red blood cells and lower the risk of complications.

Malignant blood disorders, also known as hematologic malignancies, refer to a group of cancers that originate in the blood-forming tissues or cells within the bone marrow. These disorders involve the uncontrolled growth and division of abnormal cells, which can interfere with normal blood cell production and function. Common examples of malignant blood disorders include:

  • Leukemia
    Leukemia is a malignant blood disorder that affects the production of white blood cells. It involves the rapid production of abnormal white blood cells, which crowd out healthy cells in the bone marrow. Symptoms include fatigue, recurrent infections, easy bleeding, and swollen lymph nodes. Treatment options depend on the type and stage of leukemia but may involve chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or stem cell transplantation.
  • Lymphoma
    Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which plays a crucial role in the body's immune system. It manifests as abnormal cell growth in the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, or other lymphatic tissues. Common symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and night sweats. Treatment varies depending on the type and stage of lymphoma and may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy.
  • Multiple Myeloma
    Multiple myeloma is a malignant blood disorder that affects plasma cells, which are responsible for producing antibodies. It involves the abnormal growth of plasma cells in the bone marrow, leading to weakened bones, anemia, kidney problems, and increased susceptibility to infections. Treatment options include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, stem cell transplantation, and supportive care to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Blood disorders encompass a diverse range of conditions that can significantly impact an individual's well-being. Proper diagnosis, understanding the underlying causes, and early intervention are crucial for effective management and treatment of these disorders. While the treatments mentioned above are commonly used, it is essential to consult with healthcare professionals to develop an individualised treatment plan based on the specific type and severity of the blood disorder.

Healthcare providers perform physical examinations, enquire about your personal and medical history and thoroughly evaluate your symptoms. They may also suggest you undergo some blood tests.

Red blood cell tests

Red blood cells are in charge of carrying oxygen from the lungs to the body tissues. This oxygen is used by the tissues to produce energy and carbon dioxide is released in the process. Samples of these red blood cells are taken to calculate the red blood cell counts and the parts and components of the red blood cells. Following are some red blood cell tests:

  • Haemoglobin tests
    The main component of red blood cells is haemoglobin. The haemoglobin level is used to detect anaemia.
  • Hematocrit test
    This test is used to measure red cell percentage in the blood.
  • Reticulocyte count
    Reticulocytes are immature RBCs. This test helps determine if the bone marrow is producing an adequate number of RBCs.

White blood cell tests

White blood cells constitute about 1% of the total blood. They safeguard the body against infections. Their high levels may indicate the presence of certain medical conditions. Suppose a high white blood cell count may indicate infection, inflammation, or a malignancy.

White blood cells are of three types— monocytes, granulocytes, and lymphocytes. Granulocytes further include basophils, eosinophils, and neutrophils. Your doctor may run a complete blood count with differential count to evaluate each type of white blood cell:

  • Eosinophils
    Eosinophils safeguard the body against infections. High levels of eosinophils may be a sign of underlying medical conditions.
  • Basophils
    Basophils safeguard the body against allergens. When the body produces too many basophils, the condition is called basophilia. High basophil count suggests the presence of certain cancers.
  • Neutrophils
    The most common type of white blood cells is neutrophils. These cells are the first responders against infections. When the neutrophil counts are low, the condition is called neutropenia. Neutropenia may predispose you to developing serious infections.
  • Monocytes
    These white blood cells fight against germs. High levels of monocytes may indicate the presence of infectious diseases.
  • Lymphocytes
    Lymphocytes are of two main types. T lymphocytes, that manage the immune system response of your body. They fight against infected cells and other intruders. B lymphocytes produce antibodies that target bacteria, viruses, and other foreign invaders.

Platelet tests

Platelets or thrombocytes help form blood clots and control bleeding. Following are some tests that are used to evaluate platelet health.

  • Platelet count
    This test is used to measure the number of platelets in the blood.
  • Mean platelet volume (MPV) test
    This test is used to measure the average platelet size.
  • Peripheral blood smear (PBS)
    This test may be used by your provider to examine platelets under the microscope.

Generally, focus is laid on identifying and treating conditions causing blood disorders. The treatment options include:

  • Watchful waiting
  • Blood and platelet transfusions
  • Anticoagulants
  • Growth factor supplementation
  • Corticosteroids

Looking for an expert to treat blood disorders in Indore? The Department of Clinical Haematology at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore provides comprehensive treatment and care for patients with blood disorders. Our team of haematologists are highly qualified and experienced in dealing with complex cases. Further our team is also equipped with advanced technology to perform procedures with best outcomes.