Sideroblastic anemia is a type of anemia where an affected individual's bone marrow does not properly utilize a mineral called iron in the synthesis of hemoglobin. This malfunction means the abnormal red blood cells produced by the bone marrow have too much iron that cannot be converted into hemoglobin, resulting in cellular accumulation of iron. Because there is not enough hemoglobin to carry oxygen to tissues around the body, the individual will experience symptoms similar to those that manifest in other types of anemias. These symptoms include tachycardia, heart palpitations, chest pain, pale pallor, headaches, fatigue, and weakness. Diagnosis of sideroblastic anemia is made through a peripheral blood smear examination, complete blood count, iron studies, reticulocyte count, or bone marrow examination. The treatment of individuals affected by sideroblastic anemia depends on the factors causing it.
Causes: Genetic And Acquired
The two primary variations of sideroblastic anemia are characterized by their underlying causes. Inherited sideroblastic anemia is a condition inherited from one of the patient's parents. A mutation in the cellular DNA in the ALAS2 gene causes a disruption in the normal production of hemoglobin in the bone marrow. The affected individual's body tries to compensate for this malfunction by abnormally excessive iron absorption from the food they consume. This iron build up can easily cause damage to vital organs such as the liver. This type of sideroblastic anemia is less common and rarely diagnosed in individuals who are over thirty years old. Acquired sideroblastic anemia is a more common form of the disease caused by the consumption of alcohol or the use of certain prescription drugs. Other potential causes of acquired sideroblastic anemia may also be a result of metabolic diseases, immune disorders, malignant or benign tumors, copper or vitamin B6 deficiency, and extended contact with toxic chemical substances such as lead and ethanol.
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