Bone marrow failure
Bone marrow failure occurs in individuals who produce an insufficient amount of red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. Red blood cells transport oxygen to be distributed throughout the body’s tissue. White blood cells fight off infections that enter the body. Bone marrow also contains platelets, which trigger clotting, and thus help stop the blood flow when a wound occurs. 
Bone marrow failure is associated with three types of diseases, Fanconi anemia (FA), dyskeratosis congenita, and aplastic anemia. Fanconi anemia is an inherited blood disorder due to abnormal breakages in DNA genes. It is linked to hyperpigmentation, which is the darkening of an area of skin or nails caused by increased melanin. According to Histopathology, “However, in about 30% of FA patients no physical abnormalities are found”. Dyskeratosis congenita often affects multiple parts of the body. Individuals with this disorder usually show changes in skin pigmentations, unusual fingernail growth, and mucosa leukoplakia; the inner part of the mouth is encased with white patches that may never resolve. Aplastic anemia happens when bone marrow doesn’t produce enough new blood cells throughout the body. Aplastic anemia is an acquired autoimmune disease, which occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue.
Bone marrow failure in both children and adults can be either inherited or acquired. Inherited bone marrow failure is often the cause in young children, while older children and adults may acquire the disease later in life. A maturation defect in genes is a common cause of inherited bone marrow failure. The most common cause of acquired bone marrow failure is aplastic anemia. Working with chemicals such as benzene could be a factor in causing the illness. Other factors include radiation or chemotherapy treatments, and immune system problems.
Signs and symptoms
The two most common signs and symptoms of bone marrow failure are bleeding and bruising. Blood may be seen throughout the gums, nose or the skin, and tend to last longer than normal. Children have a bigger chance of seeing blood in their urine or stools, which results in digestive problems with an unpleasant scent. Individuals with this condition may also encounter tooth loss or tooth decay. Chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, and recurrent colds can also be symptoms of bone marrow failure.
The type of treatment depends on the severity of the patient’s bone marrow failure disease. Blood transfusion is one treatment. Blood is collected from volunteer donors who agree to let doctors draw blood stem cells from their blood or bone marrow for transplantation. Blood that is taken straight from collected blood stem cells is known as peripheral blood stem cell donation. A peripheral stem cell donor must have the same blood type as the patient receiving the blood cells. Once the stem cells are in the patient’s body through an IV, the cells mature and become blood cells. Before donation, a drug is injected into the donor, which increases the number of stem cells into their body. Feeling cold and lightheaded, having numbness around the mouth and cramping in the hands are common symptoms during the donation process. After the donation, the amount of time for recovery varies for every donor, “But most stem cell donors are able to return to their usual activities within a few days to a week after donation”.
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