Sideroblastic anemia is a heterogeneous disorder where in the bone marrow cannot produce enough red blood cells in the body. The deficiency in red blood cells leads to the disorder, where in under developed red blood cells are called ring sideroblasts. Based on years of extensive research, these ring sideroblasts have been linked to several diseases, which are hereditary, or may be acquired over time. Inherited or acquired sideroblastic anemia has the same symptoms and diagnosis.
Sideroblastic anemia is caused when there is not enough oxygen converted from iron in to the bloodstream. Sideroblastic anemia limits the capability of the red blood cells to transport the oxygenated iron in to the body efficiently.
- Hereditary sideroblastic anemia – this disease is most common in males because it greatly affects the X-chromosome. While the disorder can become very severe, vitamin B6 can keep the disorder under control, provided that it is not yet in its advanced stages. With genetic or hereditary sideroblastic anemia, the structure of the chromosomes are altered or mutated. A man inflicted with the disease will not be able to pass on the anemia to his offspring, but a woman who is a carrier of the disease will be able to pass it on to the succeeding generations.
- Acquired sideroblastic anemia – this type of disease is diagnosed mostly in adult patients and treatment with vitamin B6 cannot keep the anemia under control. Patients who are suffering from acquired sideroblastic anemia usually have a lifespan of 10 years, and 10 percent of the total cases in America have been reported to be inflicted with acute leukemia as well.
Compared to other countries around the world, sideroblastic anemia affects most Americans. In the city of Atlanta, Georgia, 8 percent of children 13 years and below have been diagnosed with hereditary ring sideroblasts.
Acquired sideroblastic anemia is usually caused by alcohol or substance abuse and lead poisoning. Substance abuse, particularly in alcoholic beverages such as whiskey, rum, and beer, are the most common causes of sideroblastic anemia. Ethyl alcohol is present in these mentioned drinks. Lead poisoning, which is common in highly polluted areas from vehicle emissions, factories, and laboratories, can trigger sideroblastic anemia. Similar to excessive alcohol consumption, substance abuse like drugs can also lead to abnormality in the genes and eventually leads to heterogeneous disorders like sideroblastic anemia.
The most common symptoms for patients with sideroblastic anemia include chest pains, headaches, fatigue, and difficulty in swallowing. While vitamin B6 can help control the disorder, patients with severe anemia may resort to chemotherapy for treatment. If the anemia has increased in severity, blood transfusion is often required. If the condition is detected in its early stages, it may be treated by a complete blood transfusion, and treatment with vitamin B complex can help improve the condition in its early stages.
Although there are only hundreds of sideroblastic anemia cases worldwide, this number can increase rapidly if man continues to destroy the natural environment with pollution, and harm the body with various chemicals and substances.
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