on the body include general fatigue and weakness and decreased kidney function. An
increase in the susceptibility to orthostatic hypotension (that is, the patient faints when
arising too quickly from a bed or chair) or fainting is also seen.
DISORDERS WHICH AFFECT THE BLOOD SYSTEM
As with any other system of the body, some disorders may affect the blood
system. Usually these disorders are types of anemias, but there are other disorders
a. Iron Deficiency Anemia. Iron deficiency anemia is due to a deficiency of
elemental iron in the blood. Iron is essential for the proper functioning of hemoglobin.
In iron deficiency anemia, the blood cannot transport as much oxygen. Therefore, the
tissues of the body are deprived of the much-needed oxygen. Furthermore, the
presence of iron deficiency anemia affects the formulation of blood cells. Treatment of
iron deficiency anemia requires the administration of iron either orally or parenterally.
b. Hemolytic Anemia. Hemolytic anemia is a general term referring to
anemias caused by weakened red blood cell membranes. There are several types of
hemolytic anemias that are often classified according to their cause. Some of the
causes of hemolytic anemia are drugs (such as primaquine or the sulfonamides),
heredity, or lack of either vitamin B12 or folic acid. In hemolytic anemia, the red blood
cells are weak and lyse (break apart) as they squeeze through the small capillaries or
spleen. The treatment of the hemolytic anemias is obviously dependent on the
particular cause. Splenectomies, discontinuance of the causative agent, or the
administration of folic acid or vitamin B12 are some of the treatment possibilities.
c. Sickle Cell Anemia. Sickle cell anemia is a serious anemia that is
predominant in people of black race. The erythrocytes of a person who has sickle cell
anemia become sickle-shaped and, therefore, are not efficient carriers of gases or
nutrients. The sickle-shaped cells also increase the viscosity of the blood that leads to
decreased circulation in the small arteries and capillaries. Symptoms of sickle-cell
anemia include pain of certain organs, bone and joint pain, fever, and cerebral
thrombosis. The spleen is not usually enlarged. Complications associated with sickle
cell anemia are leg ulcers, osteomyelitis, and occasionally, cardiac enlargement. The
treatment for sickle cell anemia is usually symptomatic as the actual cause of the
condition is unknown. Blood transfusions are usually involved in most treatment
d. Aplastic Anemia. Aplastic anemia is a very serious and usually fatal
condition that affects about four out of every one million people. It is characterized by a
progressive degeneration of the bone marrow that is rarely reversible. The usual cause
appears to be toxins or drugs and excessive use of X-rays. The prognosis of this
severe bone marrow depression is generally poor.