Know the basics
What are blood disorders?
Your blood includes two main ingredients: liquid and solids. The liquid, commonly called plasma, is made of water, salts and protein. The solid part of your blood contains red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
Blood disorders, also known as hematologic disorders, are the disorders that affect the quantity as well as the functionality of the solid part of your blood.
Some blood disorders decrease the number of blood cells:
- Anemia: a decreased number of red blood cells;
- Leukopenia: a decreased number of white blood cells;
- Thrombocytopenia: a decreased number of platelets;
Some blood disorders increase the number of blood cells:
- Erythrocytosis: an increased number of red blood cells;
- Leukocytosis: an increased number of white blood cells;
- Thrombocythemia: an increased number of platelets;
Other blood disorder affect proteins within the blood cells or plasma, causing the reduction in the blood clotting system or immune system.
How common are blood disorders?
Blood disorders are quite common. They can affect people in all ages and genders. But they can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of blood disorders?
Symptoms are caused by blood disorders include:
- Fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath;
- Redness on the face;
- Increased thickening of blood;
- Inappropriate excessive blood clotting;
- Muscle weakness;
- Fastened heartbeat;
- Chronic infections;
- Cuts or sores that do not heal or are slow to heal;
- Uncontrollable bleeding after being cut or injured;
- Skin that bruises easily;
Generally, blood disorders cause very heavy bleeding in cases:
- Dental procedures;
- Menstrual bleeding;
- Delivery of a baby;
- Teething in babies.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
Know the causes
What causes blood disorders?
There are some main causes of blood disorders:
Blood disorders can run in family. This means if your parents or siblings had blood disorders, you are likely to face it.
The result of disease
For example, polycythemia vera – a genetic condition, can cause your body to produce too many red blood cells. Or if you have an autoimmune disease, such as lupus, your immune system may destroy your own blood platelets, which leads to inability to stop episodes of bleeding when you are cut or injured.
Some infections can decrease the amount of white blood cells of your blood. Others may also increase white blood cells production.
Problems with absorbing iron can result in blood disorders, as your body is not able to produce enough red blood cells.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for blood disorders?
There are some reasons that get you at higher risk of blood disorders, such as:
- Unreasonable diet (poor diet or diet high in fat);
- Seriously infection;
- Intestinal disorders, chronic diseases;
- Menstruating or pregnancy;
- Engage in vigorous athletic activities;
- Lack in physical activities.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is blood disorder diagnosed?
To detect problems with your blood, the doctor can recommend you these following tests:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) is the most common test for blood disorders. CBC evaluates all the cellular components (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets) in the blood. Automated machines can do this test in less than 1 minute on a small amount of blood. The CBC is supplemented in some instances by examination of blood cells under a microscope.
- Reticulocyte count measures the number of newly formed red blood cells (reticulocytes) in a specified volume of blood. Reticulocytes normally occupy about 1% of the total number of red blood cells. If the body needs more red blood cells, as in anemia, the bone marrow normally responds by producing more reticulocytes. Thus, the reticulocyte count is a measure of the capacity of the bone marrow to make new red blood cells.
- Special tests of blood cells: the doctors can measure the proportion of different types of white blood cells and the ability of white blood cells to fight infection. Most of these tests are done on samples of blood, but some require a sample from the bone marrow.
- Clotting tests include many kinds of tests. Some can count number of platelets in your blood. Platelets responsible for bleeding control when. Sometimes doctors need to test how well the platelets work. Other tests can measure the overall function of the proteins needed for normal blood clotting.
- Measures of proteins and other substances: this tests are performed on the sample of urine. Urine contains very small amounts of protein. By measuring these proteins, doctors can detect abnormalities in their quantity or structure.
How are blood disorders treated?
Usually, your doctor recommends a combination of treatments to help correct your blood cell disorders. If your condition is not severe, you may be given with medications.
In cases that medications do not work well, you need to take bone marrow transplants, which may repair or replace damaged marrow. Moreover, a blood transfusion is another option to help you replace lost or damaged blood cells. During a blood transfusion, you receive an infusion of healthy blood from a donor.
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage blood disorders?
You can manage blood disorders by many ways. If you find any symptoms, you should visit a doctor to be diagnosed and treated early, which can gain the best result.
Adequate diet and exercise can help you reduce the risks of blood disorder. If blood disorders happened to your parents, you need to make a consultation with a doctor to discuss about your risks.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: August 17, 2016 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019
Overview of Blood Disorders. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/blood-disorders/symptoms-and-diagnosis-of-blood-disorders/overview-of-blood-disorders. Accessed July 21, 2016.
Blood Cell Disorders. http://www.healthline.com/health/blood-cell-disorders#Overview1. Accessed July 21, 2016.
Symptoms of Blood Disorders. http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/blood-disorders/symptoms-and-diagnosis-of-blood-disorders/symptoms-of-blood-disorders. Accessed July 21, 2016.