What are the symptoms?

As a result of the bone marrow under-producing blood cells, patients can experience certain signs and symptoms. However, these are not specific to aplastic anaemia but occur in any condition where all the blood cells are low.

Deficiency of red blood cells produces anaemia and the patient may notice:

  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Shortness of breath on moderate exercise eg going up stairs
  • Paleness
  • Pulsating or ‘whooshing’ noise in the ears and/or headache.

Deficiency of white blood cells, in particular neutrophils, causes an increased risk of infection. Common infections include:

  • Recurrent or persistent sore throat
  • Skin infections
  • Chest infection.

Deficiency of platelets causes a tendency to bleed. Common areas include:

  • Gum bleeding, particularly after brushing teeth
  • Nose bleeds
  • Heavy or prolonged periods
  • Blood blisters in the mouth
  • Skin, shown by easy or unexplained bruising or rash composed of small red spots most prominent on the legs called petechiae or purpura.

How is it diagnosed?