Anemia is the most common blood disorder where the blood’s ability to carry oxygen is impaired. It is a problem with the red blood cells – either there are too few red blood cells or the oxygen-carrying ability of these cells are lower than normal. When it is associated with insufficient iron, an essential mineral required for red blood cell formation, then it is known as iron-deficiency anemia. This is the most common type of anemia and is mainly seen in females for several gender-specific reasons. However, iron-deficiency anemia can also occur in men and is sometimes due to common reasons that many people do not know.
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Lupus is a broad term for a group of autoimmune conditions. A mild type is cutaneous lupus erythematosus, the most notable form being discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE), which primarily affects the skin. A greater concern for most people is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) which can affect several organs throughout the body. Lupus can also be caused by using certain drugs and this is known as drug-induced lupus. There are other newborn and childhood variants that are less commonly seen. The problem with diagnosing lupus is that many of the signs and symptoms resemble other more common conditions.
If there is one abdominal organ that is probably given the least thought by most people then it would have to be the spleen. Many people do not know what the spleen is, where it is located or what it does. It is only in rare cases that the spleen is heard of, like when it has to be removed after a rupture following an injury, or when it drastically swells in certain diseases. The spleen is not a vital organ, meaning that you can live without it. But it does play several very important roles in the body. It is not surprising that many people are caught “off guard” when told that there is a problem with the spleen as the symptoms are often vague.
Autoimmune diseases are not longer the mystery it used to be in the past. It is now fairly well understood. These conditions occur when the immune system attacks parts of the body and this leads to inflammation. Since it is long term, there are various complications that may arise over time. Despite greater public awareness and a better understanding of these conditions, there are still many misconceptions that exist around autoimmune diseases. Normally the body has mechanisms to protect against the immune system attacking it. At most the immune system may attack a cell that is heavily infected with a biological agent or if it is abnormal and cancerous. Otherwise a healthy immune system continues to defend the body without harming the cells, tissues and organs.
We do not often pay much attention to the complexity of human blood but it is a lot more than just red fluid flowing through the blood vessels. Within blood is a host of different cells, carrier proteins, nutrients, gases, wastes and toxins. Blood is the medium through which all these different substances travel from one part of the body to another. If any component of blood is lacking or defective then certain essential processes throughout the body will be disrupted. One such problem is anemia.
What is hypermagnesemia?
Hypermagnesemia is the medical term for high magnesium levels in the blood. It is an uncommon condition because the kidney is very proficient in getting rid of excess magnesium from the body. Hypermagnesemia is unlikely to occur unless magnesium is being administrated in a person with kidney failure. This may be in the form of supplements or magnesium-containing medication. High levels of magnesium in the body is usually not immediately apparent unless the levels are excessively high. It can lead to severe symptoms and even death if left untreated.
Effects of High Blood Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the essential minerals needed by the body. About half of all magnesium is within the bones and only about 1% is circulating in the bloodstream. Magnesium is needed for various functions throughout the body and is an integral part of homeostasis – the natural balance in the body that maintains health. The kidney is the main organ that regulates the amount of circulating magnesium. A deficiency of magnesium is known as hypomagnesemia. When magnesium is deficient it leads to a host of effects particularly of the muscles, nerves, bones, blood glucose, heart rhythm, blood pressure and urine.
Methemoglobinemia (met-hemo-globin-emia) is a condition where the quantity of methemoglobin in the red blood cells is higher than normal. It is a congenital condition, meaning that it is present from birth, but can develop in life due to exposure to certain toxins. Although methemoglobin is normally present in red blood cells, its quantity is low. Methemoglobin does not carry oxygen unlike hemoglobin. Therefore a rise in the levels of methemoglobin in red blood cells can compromise the ability of these cells to carry oxygen. Very high levels of methemoglobin can be fatal.
Thrombocytosis is a condition where the platelet count in the blood is higher than normal. It is also referred to as thrombocythemia. Platelets are an important component of blood and is an integral factor in the blood clotting process. Most cases of thrombocytosis are transient and the condition does not produce any symptoms. Diagnosis is usually made during screening for other medical conditions.
However, the fact that platelets play such a central role in blood clotting does mean that there is a higher risk of clot formation in thrombocytosis. More importantly though, thrombocytosis may be caused by various disorders particularly those of the bone marrow, and some of which can be fatal if not treated immediately.
What is hypomagnesemia?
Hypomagnesemia is the medical term for lower than normal magnesium levels in the blood. Although magnesium is so abundant in the body and very important for health, it is often not given as much attention as calcium and phosphate. However, magnesium is just as important as these minerals and is in fact needed for calcium and phosphate to be properly utilized by the body. Recent evidence indicating that hypomagnesemia is an important side effect of prolonged use of a widely used acid-suppressing drug known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), has shed light on the importance of magnesium.
How common is hypomagnesemia?
The incidence of hypomagnesemia is dependent on the patient, their health stats and underlying diseases. It is estimated that 2 out of every 100 people in the general population have some degree of hypomagnesemia. It is a small but significant incidence. However, in patients who are hospitalized and especially those in the intensive care unit (ICU), the incidence is much higher. Hypomagnesemia may be as common as 20% in hospitalized patients and up to 65% in ICU patients. Alcoholics are often at the greatest risk of hypomagnesemia.
What is hyperphosphatemia?
Hyperphosphatemia is the term for elevated phosphates in the blood. Phosphates are the naturally occurring form of phosphorus and is necessary for many processes in the body. Most of the phosphates within the body are found in the bones and the concentration in the bloodstream is carefully regulated. Excess may be excreted through the kidneys. Hyperphosphatemia arises when excess phosphates are absorbed from the gut, reduced excretion of phosphates and higher than normal production of phosphates.
What is antithrombin deficiency?
Antithrombin deficiency is a condition where a natural anti-clotting agent in the blood, known as antithrombin III, is either deficient or dysfunctional. It can be inherited or may be acquired in life. The condition can lead to serious complications when clots form in the circulation and block the blood flow to crucial organs. Death is possible. Antithrombin deficiency is a fairly common blood clotting disorder occurring in about 1 in 2,000 to 5,000 people. It can affect both men and women equally.
What is Behcet disease?
Behcet disease is a condition marked by the repeated formation of open sores (ulcers) in the mouth, on the genitals, skin lesions and inflammation of the uvea of the eye. It is also known as Behcet’s syndrome since it is a collection of different symptoms without a clear explanation for the occurrence of these symptoms. Behcet’s disease is believed to be an autoimmune disease that is triggered by a previous viral or bacterial infection in a genetically susceptible person.
There is chronic inflammation of many tissues throughout the body, although ulcers in the mouth, genitals and uveitis are the main presenting features. Overall, it is an uncommon condition affecting only about 1 in 500,000 people in the United States. It tends to affect people between the ages of 20 to 40 years and on average, it tends to start around 25 to 30 years of age.
What is subclavian artery thrombosis?
Subclavian artery thrombosis is a blockage of the subclavian artery by a blood clot. Injury to a vessel and narrowing due to fatty plaques (atherosclorosis) are common predisposing factors of a blockage of an artery with a blood clot. This is typically seen with older people. However, subclavian artery thrombosis can also arise in younger people, particularly athletes, when muscles around the artery compresses it and increases the chance of clot formation. Depending on the degree of blockage, a subcvlavian artery thrombosis can lead to a stroke.
Respiratory Acidosis Definition
Respiratory acidosis refers to the condition in which body fluids, especially the blood, become too acidic due to higher than normal levels of carbon dioxide. It is an indication that breathing (ventilation) is not adequately expelling the carbon dioxide from the body. There are a number of different causes of respiratory acidosis. It is a state that arises with certain diseases, and is not a disease on its own. Without proper intervention respiratory acidosis can lead to a host of severe complications and even progress to death.
Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation Definition
Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a rare life threatening bleeding disorder. This condition is characterized by a defective clotting mechanism. DIC causes thrombosis (excessive clotting) or hemorrhage (bleeding) throughout the body. The clotting cells or platelets cluster to form small clumps in the blood vessels. These clumps can clog small blood vessels throughout the body. This may cause damage to organs and may lead to widespread internal and external bleeding. In some cases, both blood clotting and bleeding occur simultaneously. Therefore DIC leads to organ failure, shock, and death.
The red blood cells possess a protein known as hemoglobin that binds and transports oxygen from lungs to other body parts. Therefore, hemoglobin is critical for survival and normal body functioning. Any defect in the gene coding for this oxygen-carrier protein may disrupt all vital body functions and present a spectrum of life-threatening conditions. Once such condition is sickle cell anemia.
Sickle Cell Anemia Definition
Sickle cell anemia (SCA) is an inherited anemic condition that appears due to a defect in the gene coding for hemoglobin (HbS). Owing to the mutation, RBCs become sickle-shaped (crescent-shaped). The lifespan of these defective red blood cells are also greatly reduced. Ultimately there is a decline in the red blood cell population leading to anemia. Sickling produces sticky ends that cause red blood cells to clump together and clog the blood vessels. Obstructed blood flow and inadequate oxygen supply causes a range of functional disorders that often proves fatal.
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