Blood is a red liquid that constantly circulates in the arteries and veins. It is responsible for providing the body with oxygen and nutrients as well as disposing of waste. The average human being has approximately five liters of blood.
Blood is made up of half cells and half plasma. The cells include red blood cells that carry oxygen, white blood cells that fight infection and platelets that help blood to clot. Plasma is the liquid make-up of cells and contains proteins that are responsible for helping blood to clot, transferring substances through the blood to other parts of the body, which also contain glucose and other nutrients.
A blood disorder is a disease or disorder that can affect the red and white blood cells, platelets and plasma. Anemia is a blood disorder that affects the red blood cells. People who have anemia have a low count of red blood cells and may experience symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath and pale skin. There are different types of anemia: iron-deficiency anemia; chronic disease anemia; pernicious anemia (body unable to absorb vitamin b12 which leads to deficiency); aplastic anemia (bone marrow doesn’t produce enough blood cells), autoimmune hemolytic anemia (overactive immune system destroys RBC), thalassemia (genetic form of anemia), and sickle cell (RBC can block blood flow and cause severe pain and organ damage). Malaria is another blood disorder that affects the red blood cells. Malaria is caused by a mosquito bite that has a parasite that infects the RBC. Symptoms include fever, chills and organ damage.
Blood disorders that affect white blood cells include lymphoma (WBC become infectious, multiplying and spreading abnormally); leukemia (WBC become malignant and multiplies inside bone marrow); multiple myeloma (plasma cells multiply and release harmful substances that can lead to organ damage); and myelodysplastic syndrome (cancer of the blood that affects bone marrow).
Blood disorders that affect platelets and results in a low number of platelets in the blood include thrombocytopenia, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. There is also a rare blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura that causes small blood clots to form in blood vessels and platelets are used in that process, causing a low number of platelets.
There are blood disorders that affect the plasma. Those include: sepsis (an infections that spreads into the blood causing fever, abnormal breathing, respiratory failure and low blood pressure); hemophilia (protein deficiency that affects the blood blotting process); von Willebrand disease (body produces abnormal levels of protein von Willebrand factor that may result in excessive bleeding after an injury or surgery); hypercoaguable state (blood clots too easily); deep venous thrombosis (blood clot in a deep vein that can cause a pulmonary embolism); and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) (causes tiny blood clots in the body simultaneously).
Blood disorders prevent your blood from doing its job and can be acute or chronic. While many blood disorders are genetic, they also can be caused by diseases, lack of nutrients in your diet and side effects of medicines. Take a simple blood test today to find out if you are at risk for a blood disorder.
Disclaimer: Tests cannot be conducted at lab locations in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.
Personalabs is unable to offer testing for any person under the age of 18.