What is Hemolytic anaemia?
Hemolytic anaemia is a condition in which your RBCs (Red Blood Cells) will die earlier than they should be. Ideally, RBCs live for 120 days before they die a natural death. But if they die prematurely for any reason then it is hemolytic anaemia.
What can cause Hemolytic anaemia?
Either your bone marrow is not making enough RBCs or your RBCs are being destroyed at a faster rate than they are being formed.
Several conditions can lead to the destruction of RBCs. It can any autoimmune disease, nay RBCs genetic defects like sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia, and G6PD deficiency. If your body is exposed to chemicals, certain medicines, and toxins then it can also destroy RBCs. Blood clots, infections or bad blood transfusion can also cause destruction of RBCs.
What are the symptoms of Hemolytic anaemia?
You may feel tired, weak, have headaches, palpitations (raised heartbeat) at initial stages of the disease.
But if it gets worse then you may feel lightheaded, have pale skin, have breathing problems. Your spleen will get enlarged. It becomes palpable during an examination by your doctor.
What tests can be done?
Your doctor will ask you to get some tests done like red blood cell count (RBC), haemoglobin, and hematocrit (HCT). These tests will help in differentiating different causes and types. Other tests may include reticulocyte count, coombs test (direct and indirect), Donath-Landsteiner test, agglutination test, urine test to detect haemoglobin and its products, pyruvate kinase, serum haptoglobin level etc.
What treatment options are available for?
It depends on the type and cause.. You may need a blood transfusion, medicines that suppress the immune system may be used. Surgery may be needed to remove the spleen.
If not treated it can lead to heart disease, lung disease, or cerebrovascular disease.