Dr Hilary Jones' Healthcare Guide - West Midlands - (Page 53)
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HAEMATOLOGY – BLOOD DISORDERS
Healthy blood is vital to your wellbeing. We look at leukaemia, a malignant
condition related to the blood cells, anaemia and haemophilia, diseases that
Healthy blood is vital for all your body functions. We put leukaemia,
anaemia, haemophilia and deep vein thrombosis under the microscope…
blood BASICStrue BLOOD
bone marrow, such as leukaemia, anaemia and
haemophilia. The plasma, or liquid part of the
blood, contains red and white blood cells. The
red cells carry oxygen from the lungs around
the body. The white cells are a part of your
immune system and fight infection and disease.
This is bone marrow cancer. It occurs when
abnormal white blood cells multiply rapidly and
accumulate within the bone marrow, where
your blood cells are produced.
About 7,000 people in the UK are diagnosed
with leukaemia every year. Chronic leukaemia
accounts for 3,000 of these cases, which is
when the condition progresses slowly and
may not need treatment straightaway. Acute
leukaemia, which accounts for about 4,000
cases, is rapidly progressive and requires
urgent treatment such as chemotherapy.
Common symptoms for both types of
leukaemia include excessive tiredness, weight
loss, breathlessness and bruising. Patients with
acute leukaemia may also experience nose
bleeds and repeated infections. Almost a
quarter of patients with chronic leukaemia
aematology is the
study of blood and its
formation, as well as
the investigation and
treatment of disorders
that affect the blood and
have no symptoms at first. When they appear,
they gradually worsen over time.
WHAT CAUSES IT? Exact causes are not
known, but risk factors for acute leukaemia
include exposure to radiation and the industrial
chemical benzene, smoking, previous cancer
treatments and some genetic conditions, such
as Down’s syndrome. For chronic leukaemia,
risk factors include age, family history and
exposure to electromagnetic fields.
TREATMENT This is tailored to each case, but
usually involves chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Beware of blood clots...
Each year, one in every 1,000 people in
the UK is affected by a risky blood clot
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) happens when
a blood clot forms in a deep vein. DVT is
most common in the veins of your lower leg
(calf). It can also develop in the veins in your
thigh and, more rarely, other deep veins
such as those in your arm or pelvis.
DVT causes pain and swelling and may lead
to complications such as pulmonary embolism.
This is when a piece of the clot breaks off
and travels through your bloodstream to
your lungs, where it blocks one of the blood
vessels. This is serious and can be fatal.
People at risk are those who smoke,
are aged over 60, immobile or bed bound,
travel long distances, are obese, have a
family history of blood clots, or have
experienced a clot in a vein before.
This is when the level of haemoglobin – the
iron-containing molecule in red blood cells that
carries oxygen around the body – is too low,
so not enough oxygen gets to the tissues.
WHAT CAUSES IT? Iron is needed to
make haemoglobin and a shortage of it is
the most common cause of anaemia. This
may be due to blood loss, or it can develop
over time, particularly in women who are
pregnant or suffer heavy periods. It may also
be due to a lack of vitamin B12 or folate.
TREATMENT Usually a diet rich in iron, found
in red meat, liver, green vegetables, eggs, dried
apricots, sardines, spinach, fortified breakfast
cereals and wholemeal bread. You may also
be advised to take iron supplements.
This is a rare, life-long genetic condition in
which the blood’s ability to clot is severely
reduced. The main danger is internal bleeding
into joints, muscles and soft tissues.
WHAT CAUSES IT? Although it’s normally
inherited, for a third of sufferers, it is the result
of a spontaneous gene abnormality, with no
family history of the condition.
TREATMENT There is currently no cure
for haemophilia, and you will need regular
injections to help your blood to clot. n
Dr Hilary Jones’ Healthcare guide – West Midlands 053
WORDS: Lynne Maxwell | PHOTOGRAPH: Getty Images
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dr Hilary Jones' Healthcare Guide - West Midlands
A HEALTHY HELLO FROM DR HILARY
NEWS AND VIEWS
THE BIG INTERVIEW
A WEIGHTY ISSUE
FITNESS FOR FREE
THE HEART OF THE MATTER
DR HILARY'S WELCOME
MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION
CHOOSING THE BEST
EARS, NOSE AND THROAT
OBSTETRICS AND GYNAECOLOGY
Dr Hilary Jones' Healthcare Guide - West Midlands