A deficiency of red blood cells is called anemia. In case of low white blood cell count, the condition is termed leukopenia, and if the platelet count is very low, then it is thrombocytopenia. In some people, all the three conditions coexist. Such a condition, wherein three different and vital blood cells (white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets) are found deficient, is called pancytopenia. The symptoms and causes of pancytopenia may vary from one person to another.
Possible CausesPancytopenia is a medical condition with a wide range of symptoms and diverse causes. Till date, very little is known about the various aspects of this disease. According to some health experts, the basic cause for pancytopenia could be some bone marrow problem, that affects the production of blood cells. Primarily, this medical condition occurs due to idiopathic and congenital reasons. The following are some of the possible pancytopenia causes that can be classified into three groups - diseases, medication, and medical procedures.
It is said that the most common cause for pancytopenia is aplastic anemia. Apart from that, bone marrow disease, leukemia, malignant osteoporosis, dyskeratosis congenita, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, leishmaniasis, and familial hemophagocytic syndrome, may lead to pancytopenia. It is also suggested that, infections caused by hepatitis B and C viruses, Epstein - Barr Virus, cytomegalovirus, HIV, etc., may also contribute to this medical condition. In some rare cases, hepatitis A, rubella, influenza, parainfluenza, measles, and mumps are also considered as causes of pancytopenia. Even arsenic poisoning, mononucleosis, hemoglobinuria, alimentary toxic aleukia, hypersplenism, and systemic lupus erythematosus, may lead to this condition.
Drugs and Medical Procedures
Use of some medicines may also cause pancytopenia; but it has been noted that in most cases, such causes are not identified. Studies show that there are different groups of medication that may cause this condition. They include cytotoxics, certain antibiotics, NSAIDs, chloramphenicol, antithyroid drugs, sulfonamides, colchicine; and some medicines used for treating diabetes, heart problems, and blood pressure. Medical procedures, like chemotherapy may also cause pancytopenia.
Pancytopenia symptoms too vary with the cause and severity of the condition. As it is a combination of anemia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia; the affected person may experience symptoms associated with these three conditions. In most cases, the initial symptoms are often mild in nature; but as the condition worsens, the symptoms too become severe. Such symptoms include easy bruising, bleeding from the nose and gums, puffiness of the face, edema, fatigue, dizziness, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, headache, pallor, petachiae, rectal bleeding, and frequent infections. Diagnosis is done by monitoring the changing count of the blood cells and bone marrow biopsy. Pancytopenia treatment aims at reversal of the underlying cause, and restoration of the blood cell count. In some cases, bone marrow transplant may also be needed.