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Aplastic Anemia


Aplastic anemia

is when your body stops making new red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are made in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is soft, spongy tissue inside the bone. Red blood cells carry oxygen to all the organs and tissues of your body. White blood cells help your body fight infection by attacking and killing germs. Platelets stop the bleeding when you are cut or injured.

What are the signs and symptoms of aplastic anemia?

  • Feeling tired and weak
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Shortness of breath when you exercise
  • Bruising easily, or getting bruises when you have not bumped into anything
  • Bleeding from your gums or nose, blood in your bowel movement or urine, or bleeding longer or more than usual after a cut
  • Fever, nausea, vomiting
  • Colds or infections that do not get better or keep coming back

Call 911 if:

  • You have chest pain.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are short of breath, even when you rest.
  • You have trouble thinking clearly.
  • You have a fever and a stiff neck.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have sores, redness, or swelling in your mouth or on your skin.
  • You have pain or burning when you urinate, or your urine smells bad.
  • You have blood in your urine or bowel movements.
  • You are dizzy or more tired than usual.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


Your other medicines or treatments may be stopped if they are causing your aplastic anemia. Ask for more information about these and other treatments you may need:

  • Medicines may be given to help trigger your bone marrow to start making new red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. You may also need medicines to help prevent your body from attacking its own bone marrow. This may help the bone marrow make more blood cells. Do not take any medicine that contains ibuprofen or aspirin. These medicines can increase your risk of bleeding.
  • A blood transfusion may be needed to replace blood you have lost. You may need more than one transfusion.
  • A bone marrow or stem cell transplant is a procedure used to replace your stem cells with healthy cells. Stem cells are the part of the bone marrow that make the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The transplanted stem cells return to the bone marrow, grow, and start producing red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.


  • Rest as much as possible. Aplastic anemia can cause you to feel more tired than usual.
  • Avoid people who are sick. The medicines and treatments for aplastic anemia decrease your ability to fight infection. Try to avoid large groups of people. This will decrease your chance of getting sick.
  • Wash your hands often. This will help prevent the spread of germs. Encourage everyone in your house to wash their hands with soap and water after they go to the bathroom. Also wash hands after changing diapers and before preparing or eating food.
  • Clean your mouth and gums every day. This will help prevent a mouth infection. Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth with water at least 2 times each day. Use a soft bristle toothbrush. Change the water in your denture cup every day.
  • Avoid doing things that would cause you to bump or cut yourself. Do not play contact sports such as football or soccer. Use an electric razor to shave. Use nail clippers or a nail file to keep your nails short and smooth.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Aplastic Anemia (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.