Blood disorders glossary

Blood disorders and blood-related terms 

Sudden onset of symptoms or disease.
A condition of the blood caused by a deficiency of red blood cells.
A protein substance normally formed by the body to help defend it against disease. Excessive production of an abnormal antibody can cause disease.
A protein that prompts the body to produce antibodies.
A medication that helps to reduce inflammation of tissue in the body.
Autoimmune disorder
Diseases caused by the immune system producing antibodies against the tissue of its own body.
A type of white blood cell that plays a special role in allergic reactions.
A type of lymphocyte, or white blood cell, used by the immune system. B-cells secrete antibodies into the body fluid to fight foreign substances that cause infections, disease, or poisoning.
Biological therapy
A treatment that stimulates the body's own immune system to fight cancer or blood disorders.
Blood count
A blood test used to determine the number of the various types of blood cells.
Blood transfusions
Infusion of blood or blood components directly into the bloodstream to remedy blood loss or to treat anemia.
Blood-clotting factors
Components of plasma that are involved in the clotting of blood.
Bone marrow
The spongy substance in the inner cavity of bone which produces red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Bone marrow biopsy
A test where a needle is inserted into the bone of the hip or sternum (breastbone) to obtain a marrow sample for microscopic study and examination.
A treatment using medicines.
1/10 of a liter.
A type of white blood cell that plays a role in allergic reactions to foreign substances.
Erythrocytes (red blood cells)
The cells that carry oxygen.
Essential thrombocythemia
A disorder that causes an overproduction of platelets.
External beam radiation therapy
Treating cancer and other disorders with the use of radiation. Sometimes it is called radiation therapy.
Extramedullary hematopoiesis
Formation of blood cells outside of the bone marrow, such as in the spleen.
1/1,000,000,000,000,000 of a liter (this is very small!).
Genetic disorder
A disorder passed down in genes through generations of a family.
A painful inflammation in the joints, usually caused by an excessive amount of uric acid in the body.
A unit of mass, approximately equivalent to the weight of a paperclip.
A doctor who specializes in the study of blood and bone marrow.
Hormonal therapy
A treatment that uses the body's hormones to treat cancer. This can be done by medication, surgical removal of the hormone-producing glands, or radiation therapy.
Idiopathic myelofibrosis (MF)
A disorder that causes the bone marrow to gradually be replaced with fibrous scar tissue and the spleen or liver to become enlarged.
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
A disorder that causes the immune system to make antibodies that destroy platelets, a type of blood cell. When the platelets are destroyed, a person is more susceptible to easy bruising and bleeding.
Immune System
A complex group of cells and substances that protect the body from infection and disease.
A treatment that stimulates the body's immune system to fight cancer.
Into a vein.
White blood cells.
Approximately equal to a quart.
A type of white blood cell. Three important kinds of lymphocytes are T-cells, B-cells, and Natural Killer Cells. T-cells attack and destroy virus-infected cells, foreign tissue and cancer cells; B-cells produce antibodies that help destroy foreign substances; Natural Killer cells destroy cancer cells and virus-infected cells.
The clotting of blood in the small blood vessels of organs.
1/100,000 of a liter. In a blood test, a microliter is a single drop of blood.
Monoclonal antibody
Monoclonal antibodies are a type of biological therapy produced in the laboratory. In ITP and macroglobuliemia, monoclonal antibodies are used to decrease the number of cells producing inappropriate antibodies.
A type of white blood cell.
A mature white blood cell that fights bacterial infections. Neutrophils are also called segmented neutrophils or segs.
Small areas of pinpoint bleeding on the skin. This can be due to low platelet counts.
The removal of blood from a vein.
1/100,000,000,000 of a gram (this is very small!).
The fluid part of blood.
Plasma exchange
In plasma exchange, blood is filtered through a machine that removes plasma and replaces it with plasma from healthy blood donors.
During this procedure, blood is filtered through a machine that removes the antibody-containing plasma and replaces it with a substitute. Plasmapheresis can be used to temporarily reduce the amount of antibodies in the blood.
A blood bank procedure that removes platelets from the blood.
Platelets (Thrombocytes)
A blood cell that assists in blood clotting. Patients are at risk to bleed if the platelet count is less than 50,000.
Polycythemia vera (PV)
A type of blood disorder that causes an excess of red blood cells. Some patients may also have an increased number of white blood cells and platelets.
Giving off high-dose energy in the form of particles. Radioactive substances can be used in the treatment of some blood disorders.
Red blood cells (Erythrocytes)
The blood cells that carry oxygen and are responsible for the red color of the blood.
Surgical removal of the spleen.
Thrombocytes (Platelets)
Cells used to make the blood clot.
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)
A disorder of multiple clots in small blood vessels of many organs of the body.
Ultraviolet light
Light that is beyond the visible spectrum.
Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia
A rare disease that starts in the bone marrow and causes a rapid growth of B-lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.
White blood cells
Blood cells used by the immune system to fight bacteria and viruses.
Last reviewed: 
April 2018

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