Fanconi Anemia Defined – Symptoms & Treatments For Fanconi Anemia
Fanconi anemia is a rare form of anemia which can only be acquired genetically and affects the bone marrows ability to produce a sufficient amount of all blood cells needed in the body which include the red, white, and platelet cells. Fanconi anemia should not be confused with “Fanconi syndrome”, which is a rare condition affecting the kidney’s.
This type of anemia is solely caused by genetics and inherited when one of the abnormal genes from each parent is passed down to an individual. This condition is usually diagnosed early on in life with individuals being between the ages of two and fifteen years old.
Symptoms Associated with Fanconi Anemia
The primary symptoms of fanconi anemia are the same as those of other types of anemia and include tiredness, fatigue, frequent viral infections, and the inability to control bleeding. These symptoms are caused by insufficient blood cells including the red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout the body, white blood cells which aid in preventing viral infections, and the platelets which control bleeding by clotting or sticking together.
Fanconi anemia can potentially cause multiple birth defects including mental retardation, disfigurement of the hands and arms, and learning disabilities.
Treatments for Fanconi Anemia
In some individuals this type of anemia can be mild or moderate with only a small change or drop in blood cell levels which do not require such things as transfusions, and they are monitored and checked on a regular basis for certain types of cancer such as lymphoma or leukemia. Prescription medications can be given which helps to increase these levels; however, they only last for short periods of time.
In more severe cases blood transfusions or a bone marrow transplant may be necessary. In some cases these low blood cell counts have been cured through a bone marrow transplant when an exact match-typically from a sibling- has been obtained. However, even with this type of bone marrow transplant the patient is still at risk and must be monitored for the development of other cancers.