What are blood disorders?

There are many different types of blood disorders and blood cancers. Common blood disorders include anaemia, iron deficiency or overload, haemochromatosis, and myelodysplasia. Some common blood cancers include leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

A general practitioner can help to diagnose a blood disorder and will likely refer you to a haematologist for treatment and management of your condition. A haematologist is a specialist doctor who treats blood-related disorders and disease.

When something is wrong with your blood, it can affect your overall health, and if left untreated symptoms commonly impact day to day life.

Common types of blood disorders

Bowen Icon Cancer Centre diagnose and treat the causes and symptoms of a wide range of blood disorders, including:

  • Anaemia
    Anaemia is a lack of red blood cells in the blood. It is sometimes referred to as a low red blood count. When your blood doesn’t have enough red blood cells, it can result in a lack of oxygen to the cells. Anaemia can be caused by many different things and cause symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat.
  • Iron deficiency
    Iron deficiency is a type of anaemia. The lack of iron means your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells, which causes anaemia. An iron deficiency can cause tiredness, shortness of breath and dizziness. It’s important to see your general practitioner before taking iron supplements as overloading with iron can cause damage to your organs.
  • Iron overload
    Iron overload may be caused by a condition caused haemochromatosis; a condition the body absorbs and stores too much iron from diet. An iron overload can be treated by regularly removing blood from the body. Excess iron can cause significant harm to the body’s organs and lead to more serious conditions such as cancer, diabetes and liver poisoning.
  • Haemochromatosis
    Haemochromatosis occurs when the body absorbs and improperly stores too much iron from the diet. Over time this leads to a build-up known as an iron overload. Haemochromatosis is an inherited genetic condition and can be managed by removing excess blood from the body. If left untreated haemochromatosis can cause permanent damage.
  • Myelodysplasia
    Myelodysplasia refers to a group of blood disorders that cause problems in the blood cells produced in the bone marrow. Myelodysplasia affects the production of blood cells causing them to not mature like they should. Overtime there are more defective blood cells than healthy blood cells which can cause other symptoms and health conditions such as anaemia. In some cases myelodysplasia can progress to leukaemia. Chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants may help manage the condition and reduce or prevent progression.

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