Commonly asked questions about blood disorders:
- What is a blood disorder?
- What are the different types of blood disorders?
- What types of treatment are available for blood disorders?
- Blood disorder organizations
What Is A Blood Disorder?
A blood disorder is a condition that occurs when something is wrong with the red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets — which are smaller, circulating cells that are imperative for the formation of clots. All three cell types are critical in a body’s normal function. Red, white and platelet cells all are formed in bone marrow.
Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues. White blood cells are used to help the body fight off infections, and platelets help the blood to clot. When a blood disorder occurs, it impairs the function of one or more of these three cell types, and — in turn — causes damage to the body.
What Are The Types Of Blood Disorders?
The following is a list of the most common types of blood disorders that you may experience:
|Blood Clots||Blood clots form in the heart or blood vessels when blood isn’t flowing properly. The flow can be affected when platelets are not functioning properly and become more likely to stick to one another.|
|Myeloma||Myeloma is a type of cancer that forms in the bone marrow from malignant plasma cells (white blood cells).|
|Anemia||Anemia is a condition in which the red blood cell count is lower than normal. A low red blood cell count results in fatigue, paleness, shortness of breath and — in severe cases — hair loss and worsening of heart conditions.|
|Hemophilia||Hemophilia is typically a hereditary blood disorder, oftentimes inherited from a parent. Hemophilia is the result of platelets not having the correct amount of protein, which — in turn — causes them to struggle with clotting.|
|Leukemia||Leukemia is a type of cancer found in the blood and bone marrow. It is caused by the rapid production of abnormal white blood cells. These white blood cells are not able to fight infection and hinder the ability of the bone marrow to produce red blood cells and platelets.|
|Lymphoma||Abnormal lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that fights infection, become lymphoma cells, which multiply and collect in lymph nodes. Over time, these cancerous cells impair the immune system.|
|Hypercoagulable States||Hypercoagulable states are inherited or acquired abnormalities that increase a person’s risk of developing a blood clot. Examples include: Factor V Leiden mutations, Protein C deficiency, and Lupus anticoagulant.|
|Thalassemia||Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes the body to make an abnormal form of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen. The disorder results in excessive destruction of red blood cells, which leads to anemia.|
What Types Of Treatments Are Available For Blood Disorders?
Blood Clots: Doctors use anticoagulants also known as blood thinners to treat blood clots. Blood thinners slow the time that is takes for blood to clot, as well as preventing clots from growing larger. Blood thinners are also used to prevent more blood clots from forming in most patients. Currently the most common blood thinners used today for treatment are heparin, low molecular weight heparin and warfarin.
Myeloma: The treatment for myeloma can differ between patients. The most common forms of treatments are chemotherapy, bisphosphonates, radiation, surgery, stem cell transplant and plasmaspheresis. Your cancer care team will decide what the best form of treatment is for your individual case.
Anemia: The treatment for anemia depends on the form of the disease that you have. Treatments for anemia include taking iron supplements, blood transfusions, medications, chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant, hormone infusions and splenectomy.
Hemophilia: A cure for hemophilia does not yet exist; however, there are several treatments that can be administered that will relieve symptoms. These treatments include regular infusions of a clotting factor, clot-preserving medication, physical therapy and vaccinations for hepatitis A and B.
Leukemia: There are several treatments for leukemia. Your medical professional will decide which method should be used for your particular case. The methods of treatment include chemotherapy, biological therapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy and stem cell transplants.
Lymphoma: Your treatment for lymphoma will depend on the type of lymphoma you have been diagnosed with. Your medical professional will decide which treatment option will best suit your particular case of lymphoma. These treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biologic therapy or potentially a transplant.
Hypercoagulable States: In most cases treatment is not required unless you develop a blood clot. If you do develop a blood clot, you will be prescribed a blood thinning medication such as warfarin, heparin, fondaparinux or low-molecular weight heparin.
Thalassemia: The treatment for thalassemia will depend on its type and severity. Your medical professional will decide which of the following treatments will be used if necessary. The standard treatments include blood transfusions, iron chelation therapy, folic acid supplements and in some cases blood or bone marrow transplants.
Blood Disorder Organizations
This organization believes that education is the key to ensure the future for all people who are affected with bleeding disorders. The organization was originally comprised of people who had hemophilia but has since expanded to all forms of bleeding disorders. The founders of this organization believe that an annual meeting of people and families with bleeding disorders provide people with opportunities to share information and increase their knowledge through education and camaraderie.
Phone: (614) 429-2120
Hemophilia Association of New Jersey
The Hemophilia Association of New Jersey was founded in August of 1971. They offer assistance to people that have hemophilia and their families. Their mission is to “improve the quality of life for people with a bleeding disorder by providing and maintaining access to highly qualified medical treaters and successfully proven medical regimens”.
Hemophilia Association of New York (HANY)
The Hemophilia Association of New York has been striving since 1952 to improve the quality of life for those that suffer from bleeding disorders through direct assistance, education and advocacy. They welcome any and all inquiries form those with bleeding disorders and their medical providers.
Phone: (212) 682-5510
Hemophilia Council of CA
The four hemophilia organizations in California became one in the 1970’s and became known as the Hemophilia Council of CA. They are a nonprofit organization whose goal is to coordinate their shared agenda to create a more effective and unified voice for individuals who are living with bleeding disorders in California. They promote access to care and advance the quality of life for people with bleeding disorders through advocacy, education and outreach through collaboration with their founding organizations.
Phone: (916) 498-3782
Hemophilia Federation of America (HFA)
The HFA is a national community-based advocacy organization that serves all people in the United States who are living with bleeding disorders and their families. It was incorporated in 1994 as a non-profit organization, the HFA serves as a consumer advocate for safe, affordable and obtainable blood products and health coverage , as well as a better quality of life for everyone with a bleeding disorder.
Hemophilia Foundation of Arkansas, Inc.
The National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) is dedicated to finding better treatments and cures for inheritable bleeding disorders and to preventing the complications of these disorders through education, advocacy and research.
Phone: (501) 941-3109
National Blood Clot Alliance
The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, voluntary health organization that is dedicated to advancing the prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of life-threatening blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and clot-provoked stroke.
World Federation of Hemophilia USA
The World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) has provided global leadership to improve and sustain care for people with inherited bleeding disorders, including hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, rare factor deficiencies, and inherited platelet disorders.
Phone: (602) 512-9047
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s goal is to help people take proper preventative actions and encourage them to intervene early before their blood conditions cause irreversible damage. They believe as long as these actions are taken, many blood disorders and their complications can be eliminated. The CDC is working to develop a comprehensive public health agenda to be able to improve the health of people with blood disorders.
Foundation for Women and Girls With Blood Disorders
In 2010, the Foundation for Women & Girls with Blood Disorders (FWGBD), a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, was launched. The foundation is dedicated to achieving correct diagnosis and treatment of blood disorders and accompanying reproductive problems in women and girls with von Willebrand Disease, other factor deficiencies, thrombophilias, sickle cell disease, hemoglobinopathies, immune thrombocytopenic purpura and anemias.