Aplastic Anemia | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of aplastic anemia?

Each child may experience symptoms differently, but the most common symptoms of aplastic anemia are:

  • lack of energy or tiring easily
  • pale skin, lips and hands or paleness under the eyelids
  • shortness of breath
  • fevers or infections bleeding, such as bruising, bleeding gums, nosebleeds or blood in the stool
  • irregular heartbeat
  • dizziness or headache

It is important to understand that some symptoms of anemia may resemble those of other more common medical problems or other blood disorders. Because some of these symptoms can also point to other conditions, and because anemia itself can be a symptom of another medical problem, it’s important to have your child evaluated by a qualified medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment.

What causes aplastic anemia?

Aplastic anemia in children has multiple causes. Usually it is “idiopathic,” occurring with no known reason. It also can be the result of a previous illness, existing problems, or can be caused by an inherited genetic disorder.

About 80 - 85% of cases of aplastic anemia in children are acquired and may include a history of:

  • specific infectious diseases, such as hepatitis, Epstein-Barr virus or cytomegalovirus
  • taking certain medications, including some antibiotics and arthritis drugs
  • exposure to certain toxins, such as benzene, pesticides and insecticides
  • exposure to radiation or chemotherapy

In 15 - 20% of cases children inherit a disorder that predisposes them to developing aplastic anemia such as: