Diseases That Affect Blood

Blood is the body’s transport system, circulating essential nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body. It also transports wastes away from the body to be expelled or purified. However, there are certain factors that impair these functions, such as pathogens, heredity, etc. Such diseases can drastically affect the quality of life and if left untreated, it can turn fatal.

Haemophilia

We know the composition of blood – it has 4 components that perform specific functions, namely: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. The component of blood that affects clotting is platelets. This disease is characterized by the lack of proteins called clotting factors, which function by combining with the platelets to stop the flow of blood. Furthermore, this disease predominantly affects men. Haemophilia is very rare in women. It is a non-contagious disease and can only be inherited.

Malaria

Malaria is caused by a protozoan parasite called Plasmodium vivax. It is a vector-borne disease which that is spread through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. The incubation period varies from a week to a month. The parasite initially multiplies inside the liver and invades the bloodstream. Here, the parasite enters the red blood cell and multiples, eventually rupturing the cell and restarting the cycle. This causes flu-like symptoms, with fever and chills. Further progression of the disease can affect the brain and cause neurological disorders. If left untreated, it can lead to death.

Sickle Cell Anaemia

Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. An individual affected with this disease experiences severe fatigue and life-threatening complications. This is because the RBCs, which are normally round and smooth, are distorted into the shape of a crescent. This impairs the RBC’s ability to carry oxygen. They also prematurely die, which creates a lack of oxygen, causing fatigue. This disease is not contagious, it can only be inherited only if a person has acquired two sickle cell gene, one from each of the parents.

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