1) Did you know !!
• As yet there is no complete substitute for human blood
• Blood makes up 7% of your bodiesí weight
• One donation of blood can be used to treat three or four people as it is separated into different components.
• The first documented attempt to transfuse a patient was in 1667 where sheep blood was transfused into a 15yr old boy
(Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys)
• The first successful transfusion involving human to human blood was documented in 1818 (Dr James Blundell)
2) Q: My haemoglobin is always below 10g.dl. Is that normal?
Ans: Itís not normal to be anaemic. The normal range of Hb is 13-16gm for men and 12-15g for women. Poor nutrition and worm infestation are the major causes of anaemia in our country. These can easily be treated but there can be a serious underlying problem and so all anaemiaís should be investigated.
3) Q: My close relative has thalassaemia. Can I have it too?
Ans: Thalassaemia is a genetic condition that is of many types but the most serious one requires life long blood transfusion and other medicines. However there is a specific pattern by which it is transmitted. It is preventable if parents are screened at the right time. It can be done by means of a simple blood test that tells if you are a carrier or suffer from the disease. Itís important to get the right counseling.
4) Q: I think I have a bleeding problem. What should I do?
Ans: Bleeding problems are complex and can vary from tiny red spots on skin, excessive bleeding from cut wounds, nosebleeds, joint bleeding and heavy periods. There are many causes such as immune thrombocytopenia, haemophilia, VWD and even leukaemias can present with bleeding. Blood tests and sometimes a bone marrow test is required to make the diagnosis.
5) Q: I have been recommended a bone marrow test. Why do I need it?
Ans: Bone marrow is where our blood cells are made. If the doctors see abnormal cells in your blood smear or suspect a bone marrow problem, the test needs to be done. In experienced hands the pain is minimal. Itís often done from the hipbone but can be done from breastbone also. The test is performed under local anesthesia except in children.
6) Q: I have blood cancer. Can I be cured?
Ans: Blood cancer is of several types. Leukaemia can be acute or chronic and each has 2 types myeloid and lymphoid. The treatment for each one is different. It can be in the form of tablets or intravenous chemotherapy, which will require you to stay in the hospital. With proper supervised treatment some forms can be cured. This may however require a bone marrow transplant.
7) Q: What is Myeloma?
Ans: Myeloma is cancer of the plasma cells; these are normally found in the bone marrow and help make antibodies that fight infection. Excess of the abnormal plasma cells causes anaemia, damages the bones and kidneys and lowers our immunity. There has been a lot of advance in treatment of this condition and patients are now living much longer. Autologous Stem cell transplant should be considered in all eligible patients.