Aplastic anemia is a rather rare medical condition and it basically occurs as a consequence of improper functioning of the bone marrow. Namely, the bone marrow is not capable of producing sufficient number of red blood cells. This affects the whole body resulting in inadequate supply of all the tissues with oxygen. Apart from insufficient production of red blood cells, the bone marrow cannot produce white blood cells and platelets as well. So patients suffering from aplastic anemia also face a variety of symptoms related to improper production of white blood cells and platelets such as infections and frequent and prolonged bleeding. The very cause may be related directly to the bone marrow or it can affect the bone marrow indirectly and actually originate form other systemic disease. Since aplastic anemia is not a result of specific vitamin or mineral deficiency there may be certain difficulties regarding setting of the diagnosis and treatment.
Causes of Aplastic AnemiaPoisons and ToxinsExposure to poisons and toxic substance may be only one cause of aplastic anemia. Some of them include benzene, pesticide components, arsenic and so on. Aplastic anemia may result from acute exposure to high doses of toxins or chronic exposure to low doses of these harmful substances.MedicationsCertain medications, particularly if they have been taken for a long time, may cause aplastic anemia. It may also happen that a combination of medications leads to this medical condition even if specific drugs that are combined cannot cause aplastic anemia if administered alone. Namely, some medications can interact with other and lead to unexpected side effects. They include chloramphenicol, phenytoin, quinine etc. Systemic DiseasesThere are certain systemic number of diseases which may cause aplastic anemia. Acute viral hepatitis is one of them. Viruses generally may induce aplastic anemia. Particularly potential viruses include cytomegalovirus, parvovirus, Epstein-Barr virus and HIV. Apart from viral infections even systemic lupus and rheumatoid arthritis may induce aplastic anemia. Chemotherapy and RadiationAplastic anemia induced by chemotherapy and radiation is rather serious condition. It can occur after initial period of these treatments or after the entire treatment has been applied. If aplastic anemia has been caused by chemotherapy or radiation it may be rather difficult to treat it since these treatment modalities may cause permanent damage to the bone marrow. Bone Marrow CancerOne of the leading causes of aplastic anemia is definitely bone marrow cancer. It spreads across bone marrow interfering in its function. Even secondary cancers of the bone marrow may be the cause of aplastic anemia.
Apart from the previously mentioned causes aplastic anemia may in rare occasions occur in people suffering from Fanconi's anemia, dysceratosis congenita, Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, and so on.