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ABC’s of Abnormal Blood Counts

Many people have abnormal blood counts and do not realize it. When your doctor recommends “routine” blood testing, it’s a way to screen for blood disorders. Some of these conditions do not cause symptoms, so they would go unrecognized without the blood tests. Some disorders, like immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), are considered benign, while others, like chronic leukemia are considered malignant.

ITP is the condition where your platelet count in the blood is low. This occurs because the platelets in ITP patients do not survive in the blood as long as platelets in people without ITP. Over time, your body adapts to having low platelet counts, but if the count is too low (i.e., less than 30), then you may develop bleeding and bruising.

People who have high blood counts have myeloproliferative disorders. Having too many red blood cells or too many platelets in the blood can lead to blood clotting. The methods used to prevent clotting include taking aspirin and medications used to decrease the blood counts.

When the white blood cell count is high, it may be a malignant condition like acute or chronic leukemia. The term acute leukemia indicates a more aggressive problem that needs urgent intervention.

Chronic leukemia is a term applied to two distinct disorders: chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). These conditions are very different from acute leukemia and very easy to treat. In fact, most people with these conditions live a normal life by taking medications and monitoring their blood counts over time.

Abnormal blood counts have been easily managed by telemedicine even during the start of the pandemic. You no longer need to visit an oncologist to be evaluated and treated for any of these conditions. Instead, you can schedule a next-day online appointment with a telemedicine hematology expert.

Heme Onc Call, the country’s first telemedicine-based hematology practice, was created to reform the way hematology is practiced. After a careful assessment of your blood count test results, you will receive education and guidance, and you will have access to continuous online communication with the hematology expert.

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