What causes pancytopenia?
Pancytopenia can be caused by heredity, medications, or exposure to environmental contaminants such as radiation or arsenic. In approximately half of cases, called idiopathic cases, the exact cause of the pancytopenia is not known. It may be linked to an autoimmune disorder, in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues as foreign substances, or an environmental contaminant. In rare cases, pregnancy can lead to autoimmune processes that may trigger pancytopenia.
It is important for your health care professional to determine the cause of pancytopenia in order to recommend the appropriate treatment. For example, pancytopenia caused by an environmental contaminant may spontaneously resolve when the contaminant is removed.
Environmental causes of pancytopenia
Environmental factors, such as medications, toxins or infections, have been identified as causes of pancytopenia in some cases. Examples include:
- Certain medications, including some antibiotics and immunosuppressant drugs
- Chemical toxins such as benzene
- Radiation exposure
- Viral infections
What are the risk factors for pancytopenia?
A number of factors increase your risk of developing pancytopenia. Not all people with risk factors will get pancytopenia. Risk factors for pancytopenia include:
- Exposure to environmental toxins such as benzene or arsenic
- Family history of blood disorders
- Lupus or certain other autoimmune disorders
- Radiation exposure
- Specific types of drugs, especially those that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressant drugs)
Reducing your risk of pancytopenia
Although pancytopenia is unavoidable in many cases, you may be able to lower your risk of pancytopenia by:
- Avoiding environmental contaminants (for example, benzene or arsenic)
- Avoiding radiation exposure
What is pancytopenia?
Pancytopenia is a deficiency of all types of blood cells, including white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. It occurs when your body cannot produce enough blood cells because the bone marrow stem cells that form blood cells do not function normally. Pancytopenia has widespread effects on the entire body by leading to oxygen shortage as well as problems with immune function. Apla... Read more about pancytopenia introduction
What are the symptoms of pancytopenia?
Symptoms of pancytopenia include generalized symptoms such as fatigue and weakness, as well as skin symptoms, such as easy bruising or rash. Bleeding, including nosebleeds, bleeding of the gums, unexplained bleeding, or bleeding of the internal organs, is common in pancytopenia.... Read more about pancytopenia symptoms
How is pancytopenia treated?
In very mild cases of pancytopenia, treatment may not be necessary. In moderate cases, blood transfusions may help restore blood cell counts; however, transfusions may become less effective over time. In severe cases, treatments such as bone marrow transplant and stem cell therapy may be required to restore the ability of bone marrow to produce blood cells. Such treatments are generally effective in younger patients, but older patients may also require the use of immunosuppressant drugs or drugs that stimulate the bone marrow.... Read more about pancytopenia treatments