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Aplastic anaemia

Aplastic anaemia is a rare disorder in which the bone marrow fails to produce enough blood cells. This happens because the normal blood forming cells (stem cells) are replaced by abnormal fat cells.

Although aplastic anaemia is not a malignant disease (cancer) it can be very serious, especially if the bone marrow is severely affected and there are very few blood cells left in circulation. Without adequate numbers of blood cells people with aplastic anaemia can become anaemic and more susceptible to infections, and to bleeding and bruising more easily.

The treatment for aplastic anaemia depends on several factors including the cause of the disease, its severity and the person's age. It may include immunosuppresive therapy (drugs that suppress the function of the immune system). In some cases a donor (allogeneic) stem cell transplant may be recommended as a curative option for younger people.

Blood transfusions are often required to replace circulating blood cells, while antibiotics may be used to treat infections.