Bone marrow is a spongy substance that fills the insides of the bones. It is responsible for manufacturing blood cells and storing fat. When bone marrow does not function properly, patients could develop low blood counts and other blood-related conditions such as leukemia, aplastic anemia, or myeloproliferative disorders. These disorders could result in symptoms such as fatigue, fever, easy bleeding and bruising, and shortness of breath. Patients with bone marrow issues might also notice they get colds and other infections more often than usual. Doctors may perform blood tests to investigate these symptoms. If the results show abnormalities in blood cell counts, doctors might ask for a bone marrow biopsy to be conducted. Individuals who have bone marrow abnormalities may need to have a bone marrow transplant.
The guide below describes the basic facts about bone marrow and provides information about bone marrow biopsies and donation.
What Is Bone Marrow?
Bone marrow is the semi-solid substance that lines the bones. The two types of bone marrow are yellow bone marrow and red bone marrow. Red bone marrow is responsible for the production of blood cells, and yellow bone marrow helps with fat storage. At birth, babies naturally have a high percentage of red bone marrow. As individuals age, this type of bone marrow is gradually replaced with yellow bone marrow. By the time an individual reaches adulthood, red bone marrow only remains in a few bones of the body, including the ends of the femur and tibia, skull, pelvis, ribs, and ends of the humerus.
Get the details on the function of bone marrow next.