Bone Marrow Diseases

Bone marrow is a soft tissue, which is found in the hollow interior of bones. The marrow is categorized into two, red and yellow marrow. The red marrow helps in the synthesis of red blood cells, white cells and platelets while yellow marrow is made of up fat cells. There is a network of blood vessels and capillaries that run through the marrow making it a vascular organ. At birth and during the childhood period, most of the bone marrow is red but as a person ages, it turns into yellow type. It is estimated that about half of adult’s bone marrow is red.

There are also stem cells in bones. Around the central core of the bone, you get the Mesechnymal stem cells. These stem cells can form different cells such as osteoblasts that form bones. Mesechnymal stem cells can also form chondrocytes that make up the cartilage. Myocytes are cells that form muscles and are also formed from stem cells. In addition, there are endothelial stem cells, which help in forming blood vessels.

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When you suffer bone marrow disease, you experience problems with the way stem cells develop and carry out their functions. Some of the conditions, which may affect the bone marrow, are such as leukemia. This is cancer, which spreads to the bone and begins producing abnormal white blood cells.

Another condition aplastic anemia entails lack of synthesis of red blood cells by the bone marrow. Genetic makeup and environmental factors can also affect bone marrow. The stem cells are primitive cells that are capable of changing into any desired form of cells in the blood such as platelets, white blood cells, or red blood cells. Only mature cells from the bone marrow are released to the blood stream.

Diseases of bone marrow could result to abnormalities in the synthesis and function of any of the mature blood cells or the immature cells. Infections and disorders affecting the bone marrow cells could lead to increased production of one type of cells, which in turn suppresses the synthesis of another type.

This situation leads to development of abnormal cells that mature and do not die at normal times. Another complication is that the bone marrow may produce immature cells, which do not mature and function properly. The cells produced could also be very fragile meaning that they die easily.

Bone marrow diseases and disorders

Leukemia is one of the conditions that affect the bone marrow. Leukemia is a cancer of white blood cells and could affect any of the five RBCs including lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, and monocytes. One line of cells is affected and it replicates continuously preventing the synthesis of other cells. The leukemic cloned cells do not function properly and they cannot fight infections. Symptoms of this condition include bleeding, bone and joint pain, anemia, night sweats and bruising. A person with this condition has a spleen that is enlarged. The Lymph node housing the white blood cells may also enlarge.

Myelodysplatic syndrome is another disorder of the bone marrow. It is a group of diseases that leads to synthesis of abnormal bone marrow cells. The condition leads to bleeding, anemia and exposure to infections because there are no sufficient normal cells being formed. The condition may advance to acute myeloid leukemia.

Aplastic anemia is a disorder, which results to loss or suppression of synthesis of red blood cells. The suppression occurs as a result of defect in stem cells that produce red blood cells or from injury of the bone marrow surroundings caused by radiation, exposure to toxic substances, or drugs. Genetic composition and changes may also affect the synthesis of red blood cells by the stem cells.

Myeloproliferative disorders may also affect the bone marrow tissue. Myelo basically means bone marrow and myeloproliferative means the increase of bone marrow. This condition leads to overproduction of immature form of marrow cells. This means that the cells formed from the stem cells are also immature and they are released in blood in that form.

Another condition of the bone marrow is the iron deficiency anemias. This condition leads to the formation of deformed and small red blood cells, which are released to the marrow. They appear pale and small and they are called microcytic red blood cells. Dysfunction of erythropoietin, which is a chemical produced by kidneys may also cause anemias. Erythropoietin is a substance that stimulates the formation of red blood cells.

Moreover, bone marrow disorders may also include plasma cell syscrasia, which leads to over production of one clone of B-lymphocytes and its antibody protein. Bone marrow depression may also occur as a result of cancer radiation therapy, chemotherapy or bone marrow transplant.

Treatment of bone marrow disorders

The treatment of bone marrow disorders depends on the type of condition and its severity as well as the symptoms. Acute leukemia may sometimes be curable but other disorders may not. Leukemia may be treated with radiation and chemotherapy. The aim is to make the disease remissive or destroy the abnormal blood cells paving way for normal cells to reproduce.

Blood transfusion may be done if anemia is present. Therapeutic phlebotomy or blood removal may be carried out in case of anemia and especially if the bone marrow is making too many red blood cells. With excess production of platelets, plateletpheresis may be applied to filter out those platelets.

Iron deficiency may require administration of iron supplements. A swollen spleen may need to be surgically removed. In essence, there is an array of treatments adopted when a patient suffers from bone marrow disorder and they will largely depend on the type of condition causing the damage of stem cells.


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