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What is Blood Disease?

Mary McMahon
Updated Feb 05, 2024
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A blood disease is a disease which affects the blood. Many blood diseases are congenital, the result of inherited genetic disorders. Others may be acquired, typically in response to some sort of stress in the body. These disorders are distinct from blood-borne diseases, diseases which are carried in the blood. One of the key differences between a blood disease and a blood-borne disease is that blood diseases are not contagious.

There are four types of blood disease. Coagulopathies are disorders which concern bleeding and clotting, such as hemophilia. Anemias concern the lack of hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells which is vitally necessary for oxygen transport. Hematological malignancies like leukemia are cancers which affect the blood and bone marrow, while hemoglobinopathies are diseases which have to do with the structure of red blood cells. Sickle cell anemia is a classic example of a hemoglobinopathy.

In the case of a disease caused by genetics, the treatment for the disease is usually focused on managing the symptoms to keep the patient comfortable and help him or her lead a normal life. In hemophilia, for example, the patient is provided with clotting factors so that the blood clots normally. These diseases cannot be cured, but they can often be managed very effectively. With the use of gene therapy in the future, it may be possible to address the underlying cause of such disorders.

Blood diseases with external causes such as disease leading to anemia can be treated by addressing the cause, which also clears up the disease. In the case of blood malignancies, the blood may be treated with chemotherapy and radiation to kill the malignant cells, with more extreme procedures like marrow transplants and blood infusions being used in particularly aggressive cases.

Many blood disorders are identified early, because the symptoms can be very debilitating for the patient. In the case of genetic diseases, people who know that their children are at risk may request testing shortly after birth to see if the genetic disorder is present, and some parents use genetic testing in assisted reproduction to select embryos which are free of the genetic disorder. In other instances, people go to the doctor for symptoms like fatigue, pale gums, excessive bleeding or clotting, joint pain, and so forth, and the disease is diagnosed with the assistance of medical tests.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon25112 — On Jan 23, 2009

Very informative article on blood diseases. Hemophilia is one blood disease I am concerned about. The problem at hand is the hemophilia community especially in Illinois. The hemophilia doctors, nurses, and social workers in many Illinois healthcare treatment centers are very abusive, harsh, cold, criminal-minded, uncaring, neglectful and too hard on patients. Patients depend on these doctors because because they want their medicine and to live and there aren't too many doctors available. Doctors are making the hemophilia patients have too many Emergency Room Visits and hospital and clinic visits when they can treat it at home most of the time. Doctors are trying to greedily make extra money off the patients and make them get extra ER visits and, unnecessary surgeries and other test that they do not need. Doctors are prying on a few patients who they think are stupid and over billing them and making them come to the doctors a lot and not servicing a large variety of patients. The hemophilia doctors and nurses in Illinois need to be audited. They are out of date with their care, the doctors are tool old and do not study and their treatment is really too primitive and overblown and out of proportion to be dealing with needles, syringes and other intricate supplies. They need a new staff of more younger and experiences doctors and nurses. The doctors are grumpy and do not want you to page them or call them. The nurses are irritable and grumpy and do not want to be bothered and make the patients care difficult and uncomfortable because they do not want to work in the first place. They yell at the patients and cause them stress and emotional damage. They cause abuse in the patients families and the doctors and nurses also appear to be too overstressed with hemophilia and have a sickness themself.

These treatment centers for adults and children are mainly the problem: Children's Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, University of Illinois Hospital, Michael Reese Hospital, Cook County Stroger Hospital, Rush Presbyterian St. Luke Hospital, and Illinois Masonic Hospital- all in Illinois, seem to be the main problem Hemophilia Treatment Centers that need correction and improvement. The patients just cry all the time and then they make them go to a lot of clinic appointment and the doctors threaten them to look like they are perfect to make their reports look good and successful. They don't give them all the medicine they need. They experience many bleeds because the doctors won't give them their Factor to use at home. They try to get them in the Emergency Room then hospital so they can make more money of of them. Hemophilia medicine is very expensive and doctors get greedy off patients. They make them do extra strenuous activities so they will need more Factor from the doctors and the doctors can make more money. The are viewed as specimens and not human beings. The pressure is really bad on children and adults to be perfect and not get bleeds-to look perfect. No one is perfect-not even those who don't have hemophilia. The doctors and nurses are harsh and mean to patients when they get a bleed. It is just sad that they try so hard to live a normal life and these greedy doctors try to make them look bad to make a buck. They should have a heart for Hemophilia! The patients suffer from doctor's abuse. This is definitely true in Chicago and Illinois treatment Centers. Hopefully research and science will solve these problems and hemophilia boys and girls, men and women, can live a normal life.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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