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Anemia

Alternative Names  -  secondary aplastic; Acquired aplastic anemia

Definition

Secondary aplastic anemia is a failure of the bone marrow to make enough blood cells. All blood cell types are affected.

Causes

Secondary aplastic anemia is caused by injury to blood stem cells. Normal blood stem cells divide and turn into all blood cell types, mainly white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. When blood stem cells are injured, there is a reduction in all blood cell types.

This condition can be caused by:

  • Certain drugs
  • Chemotherapy
  • Disorders present at birth (congenital disorders)
  • Drug therapy to suppress the immune system
  • Pregnancy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Toxins such as benzene or arsenic

Symptoms

  • Bleeding of the gums
  • Bleeding of internal organs
  • Easy bruising
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent or severe infections
  • Nosebleeds
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rash
  • Shortness of breath during physical activity
  • Weakness