Hematology is a specialized field of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the blood and lymphatic organs. Hematologists are highly trained medical professionals who possess extensive knowledge in this area. They specialize in treating a broad spectrum of conditions, including diseases of red and white blood cells, platelets, hemoglobin, blood transfusion, and the coagulation system. Hematologists provide care to patients of all ages, including both adults and children.
The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the diseases hematologists treat, common diagnoses, and the advanced treatment options available through a leading hematology department.
What Are The Most Common Hematological Diseases ?
There are numerous blood disorders and symptoms that hematology experts cater to. The symptoms can range from basic bleeding and bruising to larger symptoms, such as uncontrolled bleeding and reduced clotting related to blood-related diseases and serious disorders. Here are some of the prominent ones:
- Anemia: Anemia is the most prevalent hematological disorder that affects the red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen to the body's tissues. This disorder reduces the ability of red blood cells to transport sufficient oxygen, leading to increased fatigue and weakness. Anemia is a prevalent global health issue that is caused by various factors, including nutritional deficiencies, particularly iron, folate, vitamins B12 and A, haemoglobinopathies, and infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, and parasitic infections. It is a serious concern, particularly affecting young children and pregnant women. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 42% of children under 5 years old and 40% of pregnant women worldwide suffer from anemia.
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP): This is an ailment in which there is a substantial decrease in the blood platelets, thereby making the patient highly prone to increased bruising, gums bleeding, and even internal bleeding. It is an unpredictable disorder that may last for a few months or transition into a chronic and long-term disease.
- Neutropenia: Neutrophils are an important part of the body's immune system that help to fight off harmful bacteria and fungi. When there is a problem with the number or function of neutrophils, it can lead to a weakened immune system and a higher risk of infections. The normal level of neutrophils in the blood is above 1.5 billion per liter. Neutropenia is a condition where there are not enough neutrophils in the blood, and it can have different causes such as chemotherapy, infections, or autoimmune disorders. This article provides a simple overview of neutropenia, including the causes, symptoms, and treatments, and the role of different healthcare professionals in managing this condition.
- Sickle cell disease: Under normal circumstances, hemoglobin molecules have a round shape that allows them to efficiently transport oxygen through the bloodstream to the body's tissues. However, in Sickle Cell Disease, the shape of hemoglobin molecules is abnormal and they form into rigid, sickle-like shapes that obstruct the smooth flow of oxygen through the blood vessels. As a result, the body's tissues do not receive adequate oxygen, leading to various symptoms and complications.
- Bone marrow failure: Bone marrow failure syndrome is a type of medical condition in which the bone marrow, the part of the body responsible for producing blood cells, is unable to produce sufficient numbers of these cells. This leads to decreased levels of different blood cells such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. There are two main types of bone marrow failure syndromes: inherited and acquired. Within these categories, there are subtypes that either affect one type of blood cell or all three types. This medical condition requires attention and treatment to ensure proper blood cell production and to prevent further complications.
- Enzyme deficiency: This type of metabolic disorder can create chronic or untimely conditions. The enzyme deficiency is caused by an accumulation of bile acids, thereby causing digestion difficulties, obesity, and more.
- Hemophilia: In this condition, the blood does not clot properly, causing spontaneous bleeding and interrupted clotting. This rare disorder disrupts the completion of the coagulation cascade due to low blood-clotting proteins (clotting factors).
- Iron metabolism disorders: These are a group of ailments resulting in excess or a deficit of iron in the body. The complexity arises when the additional iron content can lead to substantial oxidative damage and stress.
- Thrombosis: When the patient's veins and arteries are blocked by an illness, the resultant condition is thrombosis and requires instantaneous treatment. It can result in physical discomfort, swelling, numbness, and upon escalation, can cause stroke and even heart attack.
Hematologic cancers are a group of malignancies that affect the blood and lymphatic system, including leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. These types of cancers can be particularly challenging to treat due to the complexity of the blood system, and they require specialized medical care from experienced healthcare professionals.Hematologic cancers can be listed as below:
- Leukemia: Leukemia which is a type of cancer can develop in different types of blood cells and may grow rapidly or slowly. This cancer is most commonly seen in older adults over the age of 55 and is also the most frequent cancer among children under the age of 15. In this context, you can learn more about different kinds of leukemia, treatment options, statistics, research, and clinical trials by visiting the links on this page.
- Myeloma ( white blood cells disorder): This condition is a type of cancer that impacts white blood cells. It is a type of Leukemia. Myeloid is an ailment that starts and can suddenly turn chronic, creating unpredictability and substantial chances of escalation.
- Lymphoma: The lymphatic system is a network of organs responsible for fighting off harmful substances and germs. Lymphoma is a form of cancer that can affect different parts of this system, including the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, and bone marrow. There are various types of lymphoma, and the recommended course of treatment will depend on the type and severity of the condition. Treatment options may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy medications, bone marrow transplant, or a combination of these approaches. It is important to seek prompt medical attention and treatment for lymphoma to improve outcomes and increase chances of survival.
The Methods of Diagnosis
The hematology department may suggest the following tests to ascertain the different parts of the blood and their level of infection. Some common diagnosis methods include the following:
- The complete blood count test (CBC): This test is a relatively simple form of blood testing, which extracts a blood sample, and tests your health and blood quality. This form of blood testing provides an indicator of blood health, including the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelet count, helping those diagnosed with blood cancer or disorders.
- The activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) test: The effectiveness and response rate of the blood clotting process is identified through the APTT test, which specialists administer in a laboratory or hospital.
- The prothrombin time (PT) test: This is yet another test catered towards understanding the response rate of blood clotting. The liver produces Prothrombin, an aiding element amongst other clotting factors.
- The fibrinogen test: This test caters to evaluating the response time for effective blood clotting, using the Fibrinogen protein. A dip, or spurt, in fibrinogen, can be equally risky. Therefore, there are treatments catered towards maintaining adequate fibrinogen.
The Treatments for Hematological Diseases
The list of hematological disorders may seem never-ending, but various treatments are in place to treat the patient effectively. Here are some of the most common yet effective types of hematological disease treatments to easily cure simple and adverse blood diseases. Some of the most common treatments for hematological diseases including:
- Chemotherapy: This treatment is largely utilized to treat fast-growing cells, including cancerous cells, to kill fast-growing therapy using chemicals to treat conditions like cancer. These drugs and chemicals help slow-fast growing cancer cells and gradually eliminate them.
- Radiation therapy: This treatment utilizes radiation to eliminate cancer cells and tumors. In this therapy, the patient is gradually exposed to controlled volumes of radiation administered by specialists in a medical hospital or laboratory setup.
- Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT): Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) is a method of delivering a high dose of radiation to a cancerous tumor during surgery. This approach allows for targeted radiation therapy while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.
- Stem Transplant for Cancer: The side-effects of hematology treatments, like radiation therapy and chemotherapy, are the chances of losing crucial stem cells while eliminating cancerous tumors and cells due to the substantially powerful nature of the treatment. Stem cells are a vital element of the body, as they further generate red and white blood cells. Specialists conduct stem cell transplants to remediate this occurrence.
- Immunotherapy: This is an internal medical treatment where the cancer cells are fought directly by strengthening the immune system. Immunotherapy is a relatively safe and effective treatment of blood cancer or cancer.
- PARP Inhibitors: PARP inhibitors (olaparib, niraparib, rucaparib, and talazoparib) are relatively recent discoveries in science and medicine. They are actively employed in both pre-clinical and human trials. They are a class of active drugs which are supposed to be consumed orally, thereby introducing the concept of synthetic lethality to ensure cell and disease-specific targeting.
The Most Effective Treatment for Hematology
USHAŞ is a government-affiliated organization under the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Türkiye. At HealthTürkiye, we are dedicated to providing guidance and support for individuals with hematological disorders. Our focus is on directing patients towards exceptional medical care, and our team of experts is dedicated to offering the best possible treatment options and support.
HealthTürkiye serves as a resource and guide for individuals seeking care for their hematological conditions. We offer information on diagnostic tests, personalized treatment plans, and a range of options that may include medications, lifestyle changes, and physical therapy.
Our goal is to create a welcoming and supportive environment for patients and their families, as we understand the challenges that come with living with a hematological disorder. We are here to offer the resources and support needed to manage their condition and improve their quality of life.