Very often our bad mood is explained by colds , weaknesses or simply by age. The number of activities that we perform every day and the pace of life these days means that we do not pay attention to the signals that our body sends. The most common symptoms of blood disorders, such as sweating at night, weight loss or fatigue are confusing for us, meanwhile according to the National Cancer Registry over the last thirty years, the incidence of cancers of the lymphatic and hematopoietic systems has more than doubled. Diseases of the hematopoietic system and blood can be quite mild, but sometimes the changes are very serious and can even lead to the death of the patient.
1. Blood diseases – characteristics
Blood plays an extremely important role in our body. When it is healthy, the internal organs are in good shape and well nourished, and our defense system works well.
Blood disorders, generally speaking, arise from the abnormal formation of morphotic elements (red blood cells, platelets , white blood cells) that lead to their deficiency or excess. The basic diagnostic test is morphology , which allows to assess individual parameters, such as hemoglobin level , platelet count, T lymphocytes , hematocrit , MCV or granulocyte fractions.
Diseases of the blood and hematopoietic system (hematological diseases) constitute an important group of diseases. These include, among others: anemia , granulocytopenia and agranulocytosis , cancer (including Hodgkin’s disease , non -Hodgkin ‘s lymphoma, leukemia and others), haemorrhagic diathesis.
The research of blood diseases is done by the medicine department called hematology, which is usually manifested by disturbances in blood parameters.
2. Blood diseases – diagnostics
According to experts, each of us should perform blood counts at least once a year. In fact, although most of us are aware of the importance of this study, 43% of Poles do it much less often.
Morphology is not associated with us as a study that allows you to detect more serious blood disorders. Only 19% of respondents indicated leukemia as detectable thanks to this study, only 17% of people indicated the possibility of detecting cancer, and only 5% indicated other blood diseases.
The number of new cases in recent years has been steadily increasing, the forecasts are also not optimistic, because the aging of the population can be observed, which significantly increases the incidence of hematological diseases . However, this is not the domain of older people, there are about 1100-1200 new cases of cancer in children up to the age of 17, the most frequent of which is leukemia – a cancer of the hematopoietic system. It accounts for about 26% of all cancers in children.
In fact, the first suspicion of cancer , based on an interview with the patient and the result of a morphological examination may already be a family doctor, or even give direction to further diagnosis. Unfortunately, we only go to the doctor only when it is necessary, for example when the pain is impossible to perform everyday tasks, or when performing tests for work. It is worth performing a morphology, which is no longer present in preventive examinations, however, many employers also have it in the benefits package, in which case it is worth performing.
3. Diseases of the blood – symptoms
Symptoms of blood diseases are usually non-specific, may resemble viral or bacterial infections. Also recurrent infections that occur as a result of immune disorders may be a symptom of hematological diseases.
Among the general symptoms of blood diseases, we can observe:
- night sweats ,
- feeling of fullness of the left part of the abdominal cavity,
- loss of appetite,
- weight loss,
- hemorrhage ,
In the case of this type of symptoms, it is worth going to the clinic and performing a basic morphological examination to rule out the existence of hematological diseases.
4. Blood diseases – types
There are many types of blood diseases. The most common occurrences below are presented below:
4.1. Anemia (polycythemia)
The redness results from the excessive production of red blood cells, the patient suffering from it usually has a red or reddish color on the face, often has bloodshot mouth and conjunctiva . It can be caused by prolonged hypoxia as well as by bone marrow proliferative lesions. In the case of this disease, it is worth finding the primary cause of both hypoxia and changes in the bone marrow – in the first case you should treat the disease that caused this condition – the heart and lungs . If the patient is suffering from proliferative lesions , cytostatic drugs should be given.
4.2. Anemia (anemia)
Anemia results from too little hemoglobin or erythrocytes. Among the symptoms you can observe:
- pale skin,
- paleness of mucous membranes,
- fainting ,
- memory problems.
Anemia can result from blood loss, a deficiency of B vitamins, insufficient erythrocyte production or their accelerated decomposition, folic acid or iron . It can also result from bone marrow cancer.
Treatment depends on the cause that caused this condition. It often happens that the problem disappears after implementing a proper dietrich in vitamins and iron. However, if the patient’s condition is serious, it may be necessary to have a blood transfusion or even a bone marrow transplant.
4.3. Leukemia (leukemia)
It can have different characters. In myeloid leukemias, the production of leukocytes increases to a large extent, and their increasing number begins to displace other blood cells, including red blood cells , hence anemia usually also occurs in this case.
We distinguish between acute and chronic leukemia. Therapy depends on the stage of advancement and the type of this disease. Combination therapy is the standard, i.e. bone marrow transplantation and chemotherapy.
4.4. Hemophilia (hemorrhagic diathesis)
It is formed as a result of mutations in the gene that affects the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin. The patient develops blood coagulation disorders. Only men suffer from hemophilia. There is no cause for bleeding in the joints and muscles , it can also lead to heavy hemorrhages threatening even life. Haemophilia patients receive medications that are designed to restore adequate clotting .
They are a large group of diseases of the hematopoietic system. We can distinguish:
- Hodgkin’s disease (Hodgkin’s lymphoma) – most commonly suffer from it, young people, aged 20-30, usually men, involves cell proliferation , in the first phase in the lymph nodes, then, in subsequent stages in other organs. The first and characteristic symptom is the enlargement of the lymph nodes (usually the neck, but also the axillary and inguinal). The symptom is also an enlarged spleen and liver , as well as night sweats, fever and weight loss. Prognosis taking into account cancer is good, in groups in the initial stage of the disease, up to 80% of cures are obtained.
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (non-Hodgkin) – the most common are elderly people, predominantly men. Genetic and viral infections play a major role here. We differentiate different types of lymphomas, including lymphocytic, centrocytic, and plasmacytic. They are malignant tumors , located in the lymphatic tissue, have worse prognosis as to cure them. Usually, the first symptom that patients report to the doctor are enlarged lymph nodes, as well as general symptoms – weight loss, sweating, fever. The blood test can occur anemia by reducing plateletand white blood cells. The diagnosis is made after viewing the enlarged lymph node under the microscope. The patient’s survival time from the moment of diagnosis depends on the stage of the disease. In the most advanced stage, the survival time is about 6-12 months.
Among other diseases of the circulatory system and blood, we can distinguish among others
- Myelodysplastic syndromes,
- Essential thrombocythemia ,
- Primary myelofibrosis,
5. Blood diseases – early detection
Thanks to morphology, blood diseases can be detected relatively early. The information that is contained in the blood give us quite accurate information about the changes that occur in various organs. The following samples are usually determined in a blood sample:
- Erythrocytes (RBC) – the norm is about 4-5 million / mm3 for women and 5-5.5 million in mm3 in men, the lower number may indicate anemia,
- Leukocytes (WBC) – for both sexes the norm is the same and ranges from 6 to 8 thousand. in 1mm3, it can grow during infection and persist for some time after the disease. When the level rises for no apparent reason, as well as a disturbance of the proportion between their different types, it can be a sign of leukemia or cancer,
- Hematocrit (HTC) – is the ratio of the volume of red blood cells to the volume of the entire blood of the examined person, should be about 40 percent, in men may be higher than in the opposite sex, low level may mean anemia,
- Hemoglobin (HGB) – the level of this parameter means the ability of the red blood cell to carry oxygen, low may indicate anemia, for women the norm is 12-15 g / dl, for men 13.6-17 g / dl,
- Platelets (PLT) – the standard is 150-400 thousand. If there are fewer of them, we may have blood coagulation disorders; when it is higher, there is a risk of thrombosis ,
- OB (erythrocyte sedimentation) – it is usually 10 mm per hour, when there is an increase, it may indicate an inflammatory process in the body or about cancer.