Anemia is sometimes still considered trivial by some people, even though this condition can be risky to interfere with health. There are various types of anemia. One of the important symptoms to recognize is hemolytic anemia.
Red blood cells produced by the bone marrow function to carry oxygen from the lungs to the heart and throughout the body. Disorders of the condition can cause anemia. However, slightly different from anemia which generally occurs due to a deficiency of red blood cells due to iron deficiency, hemolytic anemia occurs due to damage to red blood cells.
In hemolytic anemia, red blood cells will be destroyed prematurely so that the number of red blood cells will decrease, and the body does not have enough time to make red blood cells due to its rapid destruction process.
Red Blood Cell Disorders
Symptoms shown by patients with hemolytic anemia can differ from one patient to another. This depends on the severity of the condition suffered. Patients with mild hemolytic anemia sometimes have no symptoms. But the condition can be more severe, can cause symptoms in the form of a pale face, fever, dazed, dizzy, sensation of floating, feeling tired, weak, and unable to exercise physically.
In addition, there are also some signs that can lead to hemolytic anemia, such as yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes (jaundice), dark urine, increased heart rate, audible heart sounds, and palpable enlargement of the spleen or liver.
There are two types of hemolytic anemia, namely intrinsic and extrinsic. Called intrinsic hemolytic anemia when red blood cells do not form or function properly. It is often experienced genetically, for example in patients with thalassemia and sickle cell anemia.
While extrinsic hemolytic anemia, which is also often called autoimmune hemolytic anemia, occurs because the spleen destroys healthy red blood cells. Red blood cell damage can also occur due to infections, tumors, blood transfusion reactions, lymphomas, leukemia, severe hypertension, or side effects of drugs.
Requires Layered Checks
To make sure someone is suffering from hemolytic anemia, it is necessary to do multiple medical examinations. First, the doctor will conduct a physical examination and trace medical history and disease to identify physical abnormalities, such as jaundice and signs of enlarged spleen or liver which refers to hemolytic anemia.
If the doctor suspects hemolytic anemia, the patient will be asked to do a blood test, which includes checking the level of bilirubin (looking at the level of red blood cells that have been destroyed by the liver), liver function tests, hemoglobin levels, and counting the number of red blood cells in the body. Reticulocyte tests may also be done. This test will calculate how much red blood cell production. There is also the possibility of a urine test, even in some cases, a biopsy or bone marrow aspiration to evaluate whether the bone marrow produces blood cells normally.
Handling of hemolytic anemia depends on the type. There are several treatment options, for example utilizing folic acid, corticosteroids, iron administration, chemotherapy, stopping the consumption of certain drugs, blood transfusion, and blood plasma fluid replacement therapy or plasmapheresis. Surgical measures such as removal of the spleen, bone marrow or stem cell transplantation, may also be needed to treat more severe hemolytic anemia. However, the effectiveness of stem cell therapy for treating hemolytic anemia still needs further evaluation.
To help determine the right treatment, the symptoms of hemolytic anemia need to be consulted with a specialist in internal medicine, the field of hematology.
Do not underestimate the symptoms of anemia that you experience. See your doctor immediately for appropriate treatment, especially if the symptoms do not disappear or get worse. The faster the treatment of hemolytic anemia, the lower the risk of complications.