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What is autoimmune haemolytic anaemia?

Q: I have been diagnose to have autoimmune haemolytic anaemia. Please let me know more about the disease and its treatment in India especially in Bangalore?

A:Haemolysis is the premature break down of red blood cells. This can lead to anaemia (haemolytic anaemia) when the bone marrow cannot compensate for the red cell loss. Clinical presentation of a patient depends on whether the onset of haemolysis is gradual (chronic) or abrupt (acute) and on the severity of red cell break down. Haemolytic anaemia may be due to a large number of hereditary or acquired causes, one of which is immune destruction of red cells. This group of disorders may be associated with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, systemic lupus erythematosus etc., certain malignant diseases like lymphomas & leukaemia or it may be drug induced. In nearly 50% of cases, no cause may be found. Red cells breakdown when antibodies bind to them. The treatment depends on the underlying cause.

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