When the blood gets ill
Blood illnesses may be a separate disease, however, often they indicate another illness. Never underestimate the symptoms.
Blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to all tissues of the human body. 50-55 percent of it is made up of blood plasma, which contains about 90 percent of water and the remainder being various substances: glucose, hormones, enzymes, minerals, waste products and very heterogeneous group of proteins: albumins, fibrinogen (important for blood clotting), alpha and beta globulines transporting fats – for example, cholesterol, or gama globulines manage inflammatory diseases. The remaining 45 to 50 percent of blood is formed by specialized cells:
- red blood cells – erythrocytes – they live about three months and carry oxygen,
- white blood cells – leucocytes live only very shortly – 76 hours, they are part of the immune system,
- platelets – thrombocytes survive in circulation only 4-7 days, they are involved in blood clotting.
In the case of donated blood this is definitely not true, on the contrary, it must be properly checked, otherwise it may be a dramatic consequence. The implementation of the idea of blood transfusion was proceeded by the experiments with animals. The first attempt of blood transfusion between humans did German physician Matthäus Purmann in 1668. His objects were three soldiers. The attempt, however, ended very badly, as in many other instances. The turn was brought by the discovery of blood groups.
In 1900, Austrian physician Karl Landsteiner based on agglutination – clumping of blood cells, came with the existence of blood groups. He discovered only three, the fourth, relatively rare group AB was discovered by Czech scientist Jan Janský. He was the first, who correctly divided the blood into four groups (A, B, 0, AB) according to the agglutination properties (the ability to agglutinate red blood cells). At the transfusion of blood from a donor to recipient it is necessary to care about the compliance of blood groups and perform a compatibility test. If the patient is not given the correct blood type, hemolysis occurs – breakdown of red blood cells in the blood of the recipient.
Another important step was the discovery of the Rh factor in 1939. The mismatch in antigens Rh at the blood transfusion is a life-threatening situation and at the specific situation of mismatch between the mother and her fetus may cause hemolytic disease of the newborn.
What, however, the division of the blood groups mean? Blood group is determined by markers on red blood cells – antigens (agglutinogens). These can be A, B or AB, or neither one. Plasma contains a variety of antibodies against specific antigens to erythrocytes. For example, human plasma with the group A contains antibodies to antigens B. When mixed with blood group B (with antibodies to the antigens A) antibodies against the antigens A form clusters with antigens A – they agglutinate.
- Blood group A – red blood cells have antigens A, in plasma there are antibodies against the antigen B.
- Blood group B – red blood cells have B antigens in plasma there are antibodies against the antigen A.
- Blood group AB – red blood cells have antigens A and B, in the plasma there are no antibodies against them.
- Blood group 0 – red blood cells do not have antigens A nor B, in plasma there are antibodies against antigens A and B.
Who can donate blood
Every healthy person weighing more than 50 kg aged 18 to 65 years must, however, satisfy the precisely set assumptions and criteria. Men can donate up to maximum of 4 times a year, women 3 times.
The most common blood diss
Accoirding to the heamatologist Beáta Beňová of Košice Haematological and Blood Clinic anemia belongs to them. A disease is characterized by a lack of red blood cells and / or a lack of hemoglobin, which is a direct carrier of oxygen in the organism. Patients with anemia may therefore have difficulties with multiple organ systems (shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations, muscle weakness, hair loss …)
There may be more – iron deficiency (increased loss in girls and women of productive age), poor iron absorption through the digestive tract, loss of iron in the gastrointestinal tract, urine, excessive gynecological bleeding, lack of vitamin B 12 (failure of its absorption in the gastrointestinal tract or the reduced flow), other more complicated causes may be an excessive break down of red blood cells or their lack of formation in the bone marrow.
The cause may be also poor diet
According to the doctor may be the risk of developing anemia as well as insufficient consumption of meat typical for vegeterians, beetroots, pulses, green leafy vegetables, parsley, black currants, broccoli.
Manifestations of anemia may not be specific, it is often:
- by exercise induced dyspnoea,
- dizziness up to collapse,
- yellowing of the skin and conjunctiva.
„That is why she is not think of and often looking for other organ diseases and the ordinary blood test is being neglected,” says the doctor. In the screen test the anemia does not have to show of severly. It can be present in hidden form.
If the patient has difficulty, thus the physician should look for more signs, which would confirm anemia. According to the doctor, the clinical signs of anemia may be overlaped with symptoms of other diseases, so therefore, when anemia is suspected, the patient should be examined by laboratory methods.
Anemia may be not only a separate disease, but may also indicate other serious diseases, such as tumor, ulcer disease and the like.
Other common diseases of the blood are today thromboembolic diseases. Usually, in the veins of the left leg blood clots are formed – clots. If they are released, the blood can get into multiple organs and cause pulmonary embolism, for example, and the like.
The doctor explains that they most often occur in patients after major surgeries, or in people, who are immobile a longer period. “The problem is that thromboembolic disease often surprises also the young, completely healthy individuals after a minimum provoking factor – for example, women after starting hormonal contraceptives or young people after a long travel,” says Beáta Beňová.
- active movement,
- plenty of fluids,
- if you experience shortness of breath, atypical chest pain or unilateral limb swelling, at home an Anopyrin or Ibalgin can be used as the first choice of medicine. However, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Innate predispositions to thrombosis would help to identify heamatology examination, with proper prevention the patient may protect himself against thromboembolic events.
No small group of illnesses are s of blood. In children, the most commonly encountered acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. The bone marrow is suppressed formation of healthy cells, including white blood cells and haematopoietic is replaced by overproduction of immature white blood cells. You do not have sufficiently developed defensive functions. Children suffer not only so frequent infections, but gradually the symptoms of anemia and bleeding due to a lack of blood platelets.
When to consult a doctor?
- if the child tends to have frequent infections with the need to use antibiotics,
- if you observe in him/her an increasing general weakness,
- if the child has a weight loss or does not gain any weight,
- if the child has pale mucosa, or spontaneously, without injury, bleeds from the skin and mucosa,
- if the child has enlarged lymph nodes.
“However, there is no need to worry straight away,” soothes the doctor, “these symptoms may also accompany chronic infections or autoimmune diseases, but do not ignore the symptoms.”
In the older age there is the most common the chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. It is about an excessive formation and accumulation of functionally underdeveloped white blood cells in the bone marrow, lymph nodes or lymph tissue of different organs.
The haematologist says that for this disease it is typical that patients survive long, but with “bad” blood count. “They do not have any clinical difficulties or do not require strong treatment, however, if the disease progresses, today’s medicine has already therapeutic regimens, which significantly prolong patient‘s life and also improve the quality of his life.”
With this concept apparently everyone has met, people usually think that it occurs after injury or bites by snakes, insects and the like. Sepsis is always life threatening and dangerous condition. In such patients, the blood is flooded with various bacteria or toxins.
The problem is that according to the doctor that the infection will not stay limited to an organ that it occurred initially, but through the blood gets into the entire body. The most common gateway is the digestive tract, particularly the intestine, where a “load” of pollutants in food comes to, or through damaged mucosa, and thus through its natural protective barrier, variety of bacteria, fungi and other toxins pass into the blood.
The disadvantaged are those with impaired natural immunity, in heamatology particularly patients with low white blood cell counts, but at risk are also patients with naturally weaker immunity – children, seniors, often patients with diabetes.
A dangerous gate can also be bladder mucosa or respiratory tract, very often a damaged skin (burns, trauma …)
And how is the blood poisoning shown? Beáta Beňová says, the sepsis may be shown in everyone differently, most often it is:
- extreme weakness,
- muscle weakness up to distress,
- dry lips,
- rapid heart rate, which can be well traced by by feeling the pulse on hand,
- frequent are difficulties of an organ through which “the pollutant” into the body came – diarrhea, abdominal pain, cough with phlegm, shortness of breath, burning on urination, back pain in the lumbar area.
Dangerous is, when the system pressure starts to drop (less than 80/50), the pulse is quicken (more than 90/min), pathological wheezing appeares (more than 20/min), spontaneous bleeding from the skin and mucosa, which is not provoked by an injury begins to emerge.
Infection and defensive reaction begin to work on the wall of blood vessels, the blood vessels expand, the pressure decreases, the pulse quickens, inside the blood vessels it leads to exaggerated unnecessary intravascular clotting, which “consumes” coagulants and the patient begins, without any help, to bleed.
The doctor goes on to say that a “big mess” is then created in the body and so what should have helped to eliminate the disease, turns against its own human organism. At that time it is necessary for the medicine to intervene as quickly as possible.
“Certainly I do not recommend home-treatment of sepsis using herbs, vacuuming the wound, homeopathy, home washes and the like. The patient should be kept in warm, given plenty of fluids, dampen temperature, but always a doctor must be consulted,” emphasizes the haematologist.
As part of treatment, the pollutant should be eliminated as soon as possible – for example, at poisoning to rinse out the stomach and at inflammation to find targeted antibiotic that will destroy the originator of inflammation. The second part of treatment is aimed at promoting blood circulation, heart function and prevent the development of acquired coagulation diss.
Some theories have formed the foundations of medicine for many centuries.
Such example was the theory of the ancient Greek physician Galen, who believed that blood is produced in the liver, where from it is distributed to all body tissues. Heart, in his opinion, served only for the blood to flow from right to left into the lungs. Not all of his ideas were therefore correct, Galen’s theory has partially hindered the development of medicine until the 17th century.
- Significant discoveries belonged to the discovery of blood circulation in 1628, which the English royal physician William Harvey (1578-1657) was responsible for, a known authority in the field of medical discoveries. His achievements include also the discovery of a large (body) and small (pulmonary) blood circulation.
- In 1668 the Dutch naturalist Antoni van Leeuweenhoek, as the first human being observed red blood cells in the microscope of own production.
- Transfusion – one of the first attempts is attributed to a German Georg von Wahrendorf in 1642. Using hollow cubes he injected the dog into blood vessels alcohol and observed their behaviour. After this experiment he was only a short step to the idea and attempt to replace the missing blood of a man.
- The first historically documented blood transfusion dates back to 1665. It was performed in Oxford by an English physiologist Richard Lower between two dogs.
- The first attempt at blood transfusion between people took place in 1668, when the German physician Matthäus Purmann tried it in the case of three soldiers.
- Blood transfusions experienced a boom during the First World War. The experiences were later used in surgery, but for some time the doctors struggled with the problem of blood clotting. It was resolved by the discovery of antiplatelet properties of certain salts, later heparin, hirudin and dicoumarol.