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Heamatology is the study of blood and its and the generation of blood in the bone marrow. Heamatology studies the red and white blood cells, their relative proportions and general cell health, and the diseases that are caused by imbalances between them, notably leukemia and anemia. Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the various parts of the body, and white blood cells fight infections. Both are necessary, but they have to be in the body in the right proportions or systems will break down.

Anemia is a shortage of red blood cells, a condition which can be caused by a number of different factors. Women of childbearing age are more likely to be anemic than anyone else because they lose red blood cells monthly through menstruation. Anemia caused by a lack of iron in the diet is easily treated by iron supplements.

Leukemia is a condition in which the bone marrow produces too many white blood cells. Heamatology recognizes a number of different types of leukemia, with different causes and treatment protocols.

Acute leukemia needs immediate treatment, since it is immediately life-threatening, yet some forms of chronic leukemia can be watched without treatment until symptoms emerge.

Symptoms of diseases that fall under the heamatology umbrella are widely varied and easily confused with other diseases. However, a quick blood test for cell counts can quickly tell a hematologist whether or not a patient has a disorder of the blood.

Common heamatology test

Test Uses
Complete blood count (CBC), which includes:
  • White blood cell count (WBC)
  • Red blood cell count (RBC)
  • Platelet count
  • Hematocrit red blood cell volume (HCT)
  • Hemoglobin concentration (HB) - the oxygen-carrying pigment in red blood cells
  • Differential blood count
To aid in diagnosing anemia, certain cancers of the blood and monitor blood loss and infection
Platelet count To diagnose and/or monitor bleeding and clotting disorders
Prothrombin time (PT) To evaluate bleeding and clotting disorders and to monitor anticoagulation (anti-clotting) therapies
Urinalysis, which includes physical examination of color, pH level, and gravity; chemical analysis for blood, proteins, glucose, and other substances; and microscopic examination of the red and white blood cells, bacteria, and other substances To diagnose kidney and bladder infections and other diseases