Aplastic anemia happens when the body can't make enough blood
cells. The main types of blood cells are red blood cells, white blood cells, and
platelets. These cells are made in the bone marrow, the spongy part inside bones.
They all have important jobs:
Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to all body parts.
White blood cells find and fight invading germs,
such as viruses and bacteria that cause infections.
Platelets stop bleeding.
Without enough blood cells, a person can develop anemia,
infections, and bleeding. Treatments can help with most kinds of aplastic anemia.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Aplastic Anemia?
Symptoms of aplastic (ay-PLASS-tik) anemia can range from mild to very severe.
Someone with anemia might:
have fast breathing
be short of breath
be very tired
Too few white blood cells leads to many infections.
Aplastic anemia is caused by damage to stem cells. Stem cells are in the bone marrow.
They develop into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. These cells can't
be made properly if there aren't enough stem cells.
Doctors don't always know what damages the stem cells and causes aplastic anemia.
It can be from:
autoimmune problems, when the immune system attacks the stem cells
a viral infection, such as hepatitis
or Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)