Aplastic Anemia - Symptoms | Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation Return to top.


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Low Red Blood Cell Counts

A low red blood cell count is called anemia. If you have a low red blood cell count, you may:

  • Feel a little tired or very tired
  • Feel less alert or have trouble concentrating
  • Have a loss of appetite or lose weight
  • Have paler-than-normal skin
  • Have trouble breathing
  • Have rapid heartbeat
  • Have difficulty exercising or climbing stairs

Low White Blood Cell Counts

A low white blood cell count is called neutropenia. In general, a low white cell count lowers an aplastic anemia patient’s ability to fight bacterial infections. If you have a low white blood cell count, you may:

  • Have repeated fevers and infections
  • Get bladder infections that make it painful to urinate or make you urinate more often
  • Get lung infections that cause coughing and difficulty breathing
  • Get mouth sores
  • Get sinus infections and a stuffy nose
  • Get skin infections

A fever in an aplastic anemia patient is potentially serious. A doctor should be notified if a fever occurs.

Low Platelet Counts

A low platelet count is called thrombocytopenia. If you have a low platelet count, you may:

  • Bruise or bleed more easily, even from minor scrapes and bumps
  • Get heavier than normal menstrual periods
  • Get nose bleeds
  • Get tiny, flat red spots under your skin (petechiae) caused by bleeding
  • Have bleeding gums, especially after dental work or from brushing your teeth.

If platelet counts are not too low, there may be no obvious symptoms. In rare cases, the number of platelets can get so low that dangerous internal bleeding occurs.

Bleeding that will not stop is a medical emergency. An aplastic anemia patient needs to seek immediate medical help if they have bleeding that can’t be stopped by usual methods, such as applying pressure to the area.

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