What are the Different Aplastic Anemia Causes?

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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2018
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Aplastic anemia is one of several types of anemia. The bodies of individuals with this specific anemia type do not make an adequate amount of blood cells. Generally, aplastic anemia causes can vary with as many as half of all cases having no direct cause, although some of the best known causes include toxic chemical exposure, cancer therapies and autoimmune disorders. In addition, certain medications, pregnancy and different types of infections can cause aplastic anemia.

Aplastic anemia is a very serious condition. Individuals with this condition are unable to produce a normal amount of blood cells, which can lead to immense bleeding, chronic fatigue and infections. Generally, this condition results from damage to an individual's bone marrow which inhibits the production of healthy blood cells. There are numerous factors that may cause this to happen.

Aplastic anemia causes may include exposure to toxic chemicals. Insecticides and pesticides are two sources. Individuals can be exposed to these chemicals in a number of ways, including years of repeatedly inhaling such chemicals. In addition, benzene, one of many gasoline ingredients, may be included in the list of possible chemical aplastic anemia causes.


Therapies used to treat cancer are among the aplastic anemia causes. These therapies most commonly include chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Some individuals receiving one or both of these cancer therapies may develop this type of anemia. When this is the disease cause, the duration of the illness may vary. For instance, for many people, the illness may improve after the treatments are completed.

Autoimmune disorders may lead to aplastic anemia as well. Autoimmune disorders often lead to bodywide problems, which may include an individual's blood. One possible autoimmune disorder which may cause aplastic anemia is lupus.

Other aplastic anemia causes may include additional medications. For instance, certain antibiotics and medicines used to treat certain types of arthritis may lead to this blood disorder. Pregnancy may also be a cause and the disorder may develop and disappear over the course of a pregnancy. In addition, different types of infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis can lead to aplastic anemia.

Symptoms of aplastic anemia may include pale skin, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, easy bruising and excessive bleeding even with minor cuts. Some individuals may also have frequent nosebleeds and rashes on their skin. Doctors may treat aplastic anemia according to symptom severity. Some of the most common treatment practices include blood transfusions, medicine and in some cases a bone marrow transplant.



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