Pancytopenia, which is characterized by deficiency of blood cells, can cause symptoms that may vary with the severity and the underlying cause of the condition.
You might have heard about anemia, a condition caused by the deficiency of red blood cells. Likewise, a deficiency of white blood cells is called leukopenia, and a very low platelet count is termed thrombocytopenia. There is another condition called neutropenia, which denotes a decrease in the number of neutrophil granulocytes in blood. If any two types of blood cells are found to be deficient, then the condition is termed bicytopenia. If a person has a deficiency of all types of blood cells, then the condition is called pancytopenia. Those diagnosed with pancytopenia suffer from anemia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia.
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Easy bruising
- Bleeding from the nose and gums
- Excessive menstrual bleeding
- Petechiae (reddish spots on skin due to mild hemorrhages in the blood vessels beneath the skin)
- Frequent infections
- Rectal bleeding
Pancytopenia is a deficiency of all types of blood cells, like the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Even though, little research is done about this condition, there are various theories that relate to its causes. One such theory suggests that pancytopenia is caused by bone marrow problems, that can affect the production of blood cells.
There are various medical conditions, medication, and medical procedures that can cause pancytopenia. They include aplastic anemia, bone marrow disease, dyskeratosis congenita, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, leukemia, leishmaniasis, malignant osteoporosis, severe viral infections, arsenic poisoning, alimentary toxic aleukia, familial hemophagocytic syndrome, HIV, hypersplenism, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Medication that may contribute to pancytopenia include antibiotics, cytotoxics, anti thyroid drugs, medicines for diabetes, NSAIDs, medications for heart diseases, and drugs prescribed for blood pressure. However, pancytopenia is rarely caused by medication. It is also contended that the effect of these drugs in causing pancytopenia is not identified in most cases. It has also been noted that folate deficiency, copper deficiency, chemotherapy, and deficiency of vitamin B12 may also cause this condition. In some rare cases, mononucleosis and hemoglobinuria may also cause pancytopenia.
As the symptoms may vary from one person to another, the right method for diagnosing this condition is bone marrow biopsy. Even a complete blood count of the patient has to be taken. The treatment for this condition is mostly based on its symptoms and causes. Bone marrow transplant is done in some of the patients, and it is believed to be effective too. The course of treatment may vary from one patient to another.
As most of the above said symptoms are common for many other medical conditions, it is always better to get your condition diagnosed in the right way.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.