Hematologic diseases are disorders which primarily affect the blood. Hematology includes the study of these disorders.
Hematologists manage blood diseases using the following tools:
Addition and removal of blood components as needed
Biological therapy for benign and malignant blood disorders
Growth factor drugs
Stem cell and bone marrow transplantation
Blood disorders can cause various symptoms in almost any area of the body. Most commonly, symptoms are caused by decreases in the blood components.
Decreased red blood cells and hemoglobin can cause symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.
Decreased white blood cells or immune system proteins can cause recurrent fever and infections.
Decreased platelets or blood clotting factors can cause abnormal bleeding and bruising.
Occasionally, symptoms may relate to increases in blood components.
Increased red blood cells can cause headache and a red complexion (plethora)
Increased white blood cells or immune system proteins can cause increased blood viscosity (thickening of the blood)
Increased platelets or blood clotting factors can cause thrombosis (inappropriate excessive blood clotting).
The wide array of blood disorders, and the equally wide array of people affected, means that we develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Among other things, we consider the severity of your disease and how it has progressed, your age, your overall health, and your family history. We combine these factors with the latest scientific knowledge and the experience we’ve accumulated by treating many others who’ve faced the same illness.
Depending on the disorder, treatment options can include growth factors to stimulate blood cell production, steroids or other drugs to suppress the immune system, and chemotherapy to destroy abnormal cells. Bleeding disorders like hemophilia may call for blood-component therapies, such as platelet transfusions or clotting factors; diseases that involve clotting might be treated with drugs that inhibit clot formation.