Monday, December 1, 2008

December 1st through the 7th is National Aplastic Anemia and MDS Awareness Week

Aplastic anemia (a-PLAS-tik uh-NEE-me-uh) is a rare and serious blood disorder in which bone marrow stops making enough new blood cells. Bone marrow––the spongy material inside bones—makes new blood cells called stem cells. Stem cells normally develop into three main types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Each type of blood cell has its own functions in the body.

Aplastic anemia is a rare condition. In the United States, about 500–1,000 people develop this type of anemia each year. It is two to three times more common in Asian countries.

The two main types of aplastic anemia are acquired and hereditary. Acquired means a person develops the condition during his or her lifetime. Hereditary means a person is born with the condition. Acquired aplastic anemia is the most common type, and it is sometimes a temporary condition. It can be triggered by exposure to:

  • Toxic chemicals
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Radiation
  • Virus infections

However, the cause of acquired aplastic anemia is often not known.

Hereditary aplastic anemia is rare. It occurs with some inherited conditions, such as Fanconi anemia.

Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 310
Churchton, MD 20733-0310
(800) 747-2820
(410) 867-0242
(410) 867-0240 Fax
Materials available
Contact: John Huber

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