Aplastic anemia occurs when an individual's bone marrow becomes excessively damaged and is unable to produce enough new blood cells. The term aplastic has a literal meaning of empty, which refers to the content and appearance of the bone marrow in aplastic anemia patients. There are numerous mechanisms that can result in such bone marrow damage, including toxic chemical exposure, autoimmune disorders, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, viral infection, the use of specific drugs, and pregnancy. In some cases, the cause of a patient's aplastic anemia cannot be identified. Symptoms more specific to the aplastic anemia variation include easy or unexplained bruising, skin rash, nosebleeds, prolonged bleeding from lacerations, gums that bleed, and prolonged infections. Aplastic anemia can be a permanent condition, or it may be temporary depending on its underlying cause. Based on the severity and cause of an individual's aplastic anemia, blood transfusions, medications, or a bone marrow transplant may be needed to treat the condition effectively.
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