Aplastic anemia – Symptoms, causes and risk factors


Aplastic anemia

When your body stops producing enough new blood cells, then this is a condition which is known as aplastic anemia disease. When you suffer from this disease, then you have increased risk of getting infections, uncontrolled bleeding and you are feeling fatigued. [1] This is a very rare condition. Every single person from every age has a chance to get aplastic anemia disease. This disease can happen suddenly or it can occur slowly and then you will notice that it is worsening after some period has passed. There are also treatments for this disease such as stem cell transplant, blood transfusions and medications. [1,2]

Symptoms of the aplastic anemia disease

When you suffer from this kind of disease, then you can have some of the mentioned symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath with exertion
  • Skin rash
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Nosebleeds and bleeding gums
  • Pale skin
  • Unexplained or easy bruising
  • Frequent or prolonged infections

This kind of disease can appear suddenly. Also there are some cases when this disease is progressing slowly over weeks or months. There are some cases when this disease is a brief disease. Also there are some cases when this disease is a chronic brief disease.

Aplastic anemia

Causes for aplastic anemia disease: When you have a damage which has occurred on your bone marrow which is shutting down or slowing the production of the blood cells in your body, then you are affected with this disease. Bone marrow gives rise to the other cells and it is producing the stem cells. This is a spongy and red material which is inside of your bones. The stem cells which are in the bone marrow are producing blood cells – platelets, white cells and red cells. In aplastic anemia this part of the bones (bone marrow) is known as hypoplastic or aplastic which are medical terms for aplastic anemia. These terms mean that there are very few blood cells (hypoplastic) or it is empty (aplastic). [3] There are some factors which can permanently or temporarily injure the bone marrow which also leads to affected production of the blood cells such as

  • Pregnancy: When women are pregnant, then they can have an autoimmune problem that can lead to aplastic anemia disease. In this stage of the women life the immune system of the pregnant women can attack their bone marrow. [4]
  • A viral infection: There are some kinds of viral infections which can affect your bone marrow which means that you have increased chances of getting aplastic anemia disease. There are some viruses which are connected as factors that are increasing the risk of getting this kind of disease such as HIV, hepatitis, parvovirus, Epstein – Barr and cytomegalovirus. [5]
  • Unknown factors: There are some cases when people are affected with aplastic anemia disease and when they visit their doctors, and then they cannot tell them what the real cause is for this of disease. This kind of disease is known as idiopathic aplastic anemia.
  • Autoimmune disorders: When your immune system starts to attack its own healthy cells in which are involved your bone marrow and stem cells, then this is a kind of aplastic anemia disease which is caused by the autoimmune disorders. [6]
  • Use of certain drugs: Also there are some medications which are increasing the risk of getting this kind of disease such as some kinds of antibiotics and medications which are used as treatment for the rheumathoid arthritis.
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals: People who are exposed to some kinds of toxic chemicals such as insecticides and pesticides can lead to increased risk of getting aplastic anemia disease. Also if you are exposed to benzene which is an element of the gasoline is also a factor that leads to aplastic anemia disease. In some cases this kind of anemia gets better on its own if you are not exposed to this kind of element which is the main factor that have caused aplastic anemia disease. [7]
  • Radiation and chemotherapy treatments: When people are suffering from cancer they use some therapies which are used to kill the cancer cells but in many cases these treatments are also damaging the healthy cells where we can include the stem cells which are located in the bone marrow. But aplastic anemia, which is caused by these treatments can be temporarily disease. [8]

These are some conditions of the Aplastic anemia disease


[1] Lertpongpiroon R, Rattarittamrong E, Rattanathammethee T, et al. Infections in patients with aplastic Anemia in Chiang Mai University. BMC Hematology. 2018.

[2] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Aplastic anemia. Retrieved from www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/aplastic-anemia

[3] Johns Hopkins Medicine. Sixteen aplastic anemia patients free of disease after bone marrow transplant and chemo: All patients off immunosuppressive drugs more than a year after transplant in small clinical trial. Science Daily. 2017.

[4] Chen KJ, Chang YL, Chang H, et al. Long-term outcome of pregnancy complicating with severe aplastic anemia under supportive care. Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2017;56(5):632-5.

[5] Camitta BM. The role of viral infections in aplastic anemia. Hämatologie und Bluttransfusion. 1979;24.

[6] University of Montreal. Autoimmune disease: UM171 saves another life. Science Daily. 2020.

[7] Taj M, Shah T, Aslam SK, et al. Environmental determinants of aplastic anemia in Pakistan: a case-control study. Journal of Public Health. 2016;24:453-60.

[8] Cronkite EP. Radiation-induced aplastic anemia. Seminars in Hematology. 1967;4: 273-7.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.