Sideroblastic anemia is a disorder in which the bone marrow is not able to produce enough healthy red blood cells. It is a rare heterogeneous disorder in which the bone marrow does not produce healthy red blood cells (erythrocytes), but instead produces ringed sideroblasts. Ringed syderoblasts contain iron granules which are usually ring – shaped and the disorder is caused by insufficient oxygen conversion from iron into the bloodstream. Therefore, erythrocytes are unable to carry oxygen throughout the body.
We can distinguish two types of syderoblastic anemia:
1. Acquired sideroblastic anemia:
Sideroblastic anemia may be caused by various factors such as: unhealthy nutritional habits, alcoholism (excessive consumption of rum, whiskey and beer in particular), substance abuse, various deficiencies such as folic acid deficiency, copper deficiency etc. It may be caused by various disorders and illnesses as well, some of which are leukemia and other cancerous conditions as well as kidney disorders. It usually appears in patients above 65 but in some cases it can appear people in their fifties as well. Acquired sideroblastic anemia leaves the afflicted patient with a lifespan of approximately 10 years.
2. Hereditary sideroblastic anemia:
When it comes to the hereditariness of sideroblastic anemia, it should be noted that it largely affects the male population because of the genetic defect that greatly affects the X chromosome. Even so, this genetic mutation, although mostly found in males, can be found in the female population as well. It can usually be recognized during adolescence and the first thirty years of life. It should also be noted that a man cannot transfer this disorder to his children but a woman can pass it on so the hereditariness comes from the mother.
Sideroblastic anemia symptoms:
Sideroblastic anemia includes symptoms such as:
– physical fatigue
– chest pains
– swallowing difficulties
– skin paleness
The treatment of sideroblastic anemia:
Early stages of sideroblastic anemia can be controlled with vitamin B complex. Severe stages of this disorder may require blood transfusion and ,if the condition has progressed enormously, it may even require chemotherapy. In cases of acquired acquired sideroblastic anemia, the disorder may disappear if the condition that is causing it is successfully treated. The therapy that includes blood transfusions is usually followed by medications that stimulate excretion of the additional iron that is received through the transfusions. Vitamins with B-complex may sometimes be helpful in those cases of sideroblastic anemia that were found present at birth. It should be noted that the B-complex vitamins are helpful in improving the current state but they are not the cure for it.
Sideroblastic anemia may lead to serious conditions and harm the body’s general state. It may lead to irregular heartbeat, it can cause the liver and spleen to enlarge and even lead to heart failure.