By Sagar Mandan
If you are wondering about what hemolytic anemia is and how one can treat it, then read on as I show you everything you need to know about this condition.
What Is Hemolytic Anemia?
This is a condition when red blood cells are continually destroyed and removed from one’s bloodstream before the cell’s normal lifespan is over. Those who have hemolytic anemia have the difficulty of producing red blood cells quickly enough to meet the needs of a body, particularly because red blood cells are damaged or gone before the bone marrow would produce more to replace it.
There are various types of hemolytic anemia, which can be inherited by your genes or developed throughout your life.
Causes of Hemolytic Anemia
Like mentioned, the reasons why your body would destroy its own red blood cells is because you may have acquired a faulty red blood cell gene from either one of your parents. Another reason may be due to various diseases you have acquired in the past. Conditions such as immune disorders, reactions to blood transfusions or medicines, or even simple infections can cause your body to destroy your cells.
Who Is At Risk?
Unfortunately, hemolytic anemia has no particular victim. It can affect anyone of any age, race, or sex. But studies have shown that there are certain types of anemia which can occur more in particular populations compared to others.
For instance, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency would affect mostly African or Mediterranean males. In the United States, this type of anemia, as well as sickle cell anemia, is more common in African Americans compared to Caucasians.
Those who have at least one anemic parent is also at risk in acquiring the condition, as well as patients suffering from immune disorders or taking specific medicine.
How Is Hemolytic Anemia Screened and Prevented?
Hemolytic Anemia cannot be prevented when it is inherited from your genes unless you have a G6PD deficiency. If you do have this particular type of anemia, then what you can do is to avoid anything that triggers the condition, such as lava beans, specific medicines, and naphthalene (found in mothballs).
Certain types of acquired anemia can be prevented. One can prevent anemia caused by blood transfusions from happening by ensuring that there is a careful matching process between both the recipient and blood donor.
RH incompatibility (which may cause hemolytic anemia in newborns) in pregnant women can also be avoided through proper prenatal care.
The Signs, Symptoms, and Complications Of Hemolytic Anemia
Depending on the type of anemia one has, the signs and symptoms would vary. Those who have mild hemolytic anemia may experience no signs or symptoms. Those who have more severe hemolytic anemia may experience a host of symptoms, which may be serious.
Here are some of the common symptoms of hemolytic anemia:
This is a common symptom for all types of anemia since there are not enough red blood cells products to carry oxygen around your body. Because of the low red blood cell count, one may experience shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, or coldness in hands and feet. Pale skin and chest pain may also happen, as well as irregular heartbeats and heart failure from your heart having to work harder to move blood throughout your body.
This refers to the yellowish color of your skin or eyes.
One may experience gallstones from the high levels of bilirubin and cholesterol when breaking down red blood cells. As a result, it causes pain in the upper abdomen. The spleen may be in pain too because it enlarges as it fights and filters damaged and old cells.
Those who have sickle cell anemia may experience a clog in small blood vessels, which results in leg sores or pain all over the body.
Treating and Living With Hemolytic Anemia
To treat hemolytic anemia, one may require:
- Blood transfusions (for life-threatening anemia)
- Plasmapheresis (remove antibodies from the blood)
- Surgery to remove enlarged or diseased spleen from anemia
- Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant
Lifestyle changes will also need to be made, such as protecting yourself from the cold and avoiding substances which can trigger anemia.
Those who have hemolytic anemia will need to stay away from sick people or large crowds, as well as avoiding food exposed to bacteria and washing hands and brushing teeth often. Bed rest and avoidance of high-intense activities is also recommended. Simply keep a healthy diet, moderate exercise, and avoid anything which triggers fatigue or illnesses.
Wrapping It Up
Hopefully, this article on hemolytic anemia helped you become more informed on how to become diagnosed and treat it.
You may find more information on this condition and many others on websites like xpertdox. All thoughts and experiences shared will be greatly appreciated.
(Sagar Mandan is HR and Content writer at techssocial. He has contributed articles quality sites like adventurefrugalmom, negosentro, itbriefcase etc. He can reached on social media as well.)