Types of aplastic anemia
There are two types of aplastic anemia:
- Acquired aplastic anemia: This type can be triggered by a virus, medication, toxic chemicals, or cancer treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy.
- Inherited aplastic anemia: This is caused by a genetic defect, and it can increase a person’s risk of developing leukemia and other cancers.
Risk factors for aplastic anemia
Factors that may increase your risk for aplastic anemia include:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Pregnancy, although this is rare
- Use of some prescriptions drugs for conditions such as bacterial infections and rheumatoid arthritis
Symptoms of aplastic anemia
Symptoms depend on which type of blood cells you are low on. Common symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained bruising
How we treat aplastic anemia
Treatment for aplastic anemia depends on its severity. Mild cases may not require treatment, only close observation to ensure it doesn’t progress. If you’re diagnosed with aplastic anemia during cancer treatment, the condition may go away after treatment ends.
For more serious cases, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following:
- Blood transfusion
- Stem cell transplant