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Idiopathic anemia affects everything from blood cell formation to the clotting process. These anemia-related diseases, called idiopathic because of their unknown origin, damage or destroy stem cells that develop into red blood cells, as is the case with idiopathic aplastic anemia or idiopathic myelofibrosis. Sideroplastic anemia makes the body unable to transform iron into hemoglobin, and idiopathic thrombocytopenia is the lack of an adequate number of platelets. Not merely confined to blood, idiopathic diseases may also affect other regions of the body.
Idiopathic aplastic, or hypoplastic, anemia generally occurs when stem cells within the bone marrow are damaged or injured. Less frequently, this type of idiopathic anemia may occur as a result of damage to the bone marrow vasculature itself. Either circumstance inhibits the growth and maturity of both red and white blood cells along with platelets. The condition may be congenital, appearing in infants and children anywhere from birth to the age of 10. Barring genetic or other hereditary factors, this anomaly arises due to some type of change or disruption during the gestational process.
Myelofibrosis, or gynogenic myeloid metaplasia, is a relatively rare idiopathic anemia that affects only one out of 500,000 people. The disorder begins with a mutation in the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of one stem cell. The affected cell turns into a type of fibrous tissue, which consequently produces abnormal blood cells. Red and white cells along with platelets become irregular in shape and number. The number of red blood cells is dramatically reduced, while the number of white blood cells increases. Platelets may decrease or increase in number.
Sideroplastic anemia occurs when the body has sufficient supplies of iron, which it is unable to use to make hemoglobin. The iron builds up within the mitochondria of the red blood cells, causing a ring to appear around the cell nucleus. The increased amount of iron in the blood may cause damage to the heart, kidney, liver or spleen.
Idiopathic thrombocytopenia, or idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, is an autoimmune disorder that destroys platelets, which contribute to the clotting process. Considered an acute condition in children and a chronic condition in adults, the thrombocytopenia occurs when antibodies attack the glycoprotein membranes of platelets, thus rupturing the cell. This condition may or may not originate in the bone marrow.
Idiopathic diseases may disrupt any of the body’s systems, as is the case with idiopathic epilepsy, which affects the brain. Idiopathic neuropathy involves a disease of the central nervous system, while idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis affects the lungs. Idiopathic uticaria produces hives and itching for no apparent reason.
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