Skip to content

Information and Resources

Types of Blood Disorders

Font Size
A
A
A

 Blood disorders can affect any of the three main components of blood:

  • Red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body's tissues
  • White blood cells, which fight infections
  • Platelets, which help blood to clot

Blood disorders can also affect the liquid portion of blood, called plasma.

Recommended Related to

Understanding Hemophilia -- Prevention

At this time, there is no simple way to prevent hemophilia in someone who inherits a defective gene and thus produces too little clotting factor. If hemophilia runs in your family, you can be tested to see whether you carry the defective gene and receive counseling about your chance for having children with hemophilia. Gene therapy clinical trials began in early 1999 in an attempt to cure hemophilia, and in vitro fertilization may allow selection and implantation of embryos that lack the hemophilia...

Read the Understanding Hemophilia -- Prevention article > >

Treatments and prognosis for blood diseases vary, depending on the blood condition and its severity.

Blood Disorders Affecting Red Blood Cells

Blood disorders that affect red blood cells include:

Anemia : People with anemia have a low number of red blood cells. Mild anemia often causes no symptoms. More severe anemia can cause fatigue, pale skin, and shortness of breath with exertion.

Iron-deficiency anemia: Iron is necessary for the body to make red blood cells. Low iron intake and loss of blood due to menstruation are the most common causes of iron-deficiency anemia. Treatment includes iron pills, or rarely, blood transfusion.

Anemia of chronic disease: People with chronic kidney disease or other chronic diseases tend to develop anemia. Anemia of chronic disease does not usually require treatment. Injections of a synthetic hormone (Epogen, Procrit) to stimulate the production of blood cells or blood transfusions may be necessary in some people with this form of anemia.

Pernicious anemia (B12 deficiency): An autoimmune condition that prevents the body from absorbing enough B12 in the diet. Besides anemia, nerve damage (neuropathy) can eventually result. High doses of B12 prevent long-term problems.

Aplastic anemia: In people with aplastic anemia, the bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells, including red blood cells. A viral infection, drug side effect, or an autoimmune condition can cause aplastic anemia. Medications, blood transfusions, and even a bone marrow transplant, may be required to treat aplastic anemia.

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia: In people with this condition, an overactive immune system destroys the body's own red blood cells, causing anemia. Medicines that suppress the immune system, such as prednisone, may be required to stop the process.

Thalassemia: This is a genetic form of anemia that mostly affects people of Mediterranean heritage. Most people have no symptoms and require no treatment. Others may need regular blood transfusions to relieve anemia symptoms.

1 | 2 | 3

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
feet
Solutions for 19 types.
pregnancy test and calendar
Helping you get pregnant.
build a better butt
How to build a better butt.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
woman standing behind curtains
How it affects you.
brain scan with soda
Tips to avoid complications.
row of colored highlighter pens
Tips for living better.
psoriasis
How to keep flares at bay.
woman dreaming
What Do Your Dreams Say About You?
spinal compression fracture
Treatment options.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.