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Blood Disorders and Diseases

Blood Disorders and Diseases

Author: Amanda Soderlind

Determine common blood disorders.

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Source: Video and Images Created by Amanda Soderlind

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Welcome to this lesson on blood disorders and diseases. Today we are going to be identifying various different types of blood disorders and taking a look at some of their characteristics.

So let's start with the first disorder here, anemia. So anemia is a type of blood disorder in which blood cells do not deliver enough oxygen to the body. And there are actually various types of anemias. And we're going to be taking a look at one specific type in just a moment here. But one of the main factors of anemia is that it results in fatigue, because the tissues and organs of the body are not getting the oxygen that they need.

So one specific type of anemia is sickle cell anemia. So sickle cell anemia is a type of inherited anemia. So it's passed down from parent to offspring. The genes that confer this disorder are passed on from parent to offspring. So in this type of disorder, red blood cells are sickle-shaped. And what I mean by that is that they are kind of crescent-shaped, I guess, something like that.

So in addition to being this shape, they are also stiff. And they tend to be kind of sticky. So you know that a normal red blood cell is shaped something kind of like this. It's almost like a doughnut. But instead of the middle of being completely hollowed out, it's just kind of pinched in in the middle.

So a sickle cell looks like this shape. So they're stiff. And they tend to be kind of sticky. So what this results in is that oftentimes they will block blood flow in vessels. Blood isn't flowing as efficiently as it should, resulting in fatigue and a lot of times chronic pain. So that's one specific type of anemia.

Malaria is another different type of blood disorder. In this type of disorder, protozoans-- so it's a type of disorder caused by a protozoan. So protozoans will be transmitted by mosquitoes. And those protozoans will then multiply inside of the red blood cells. And this is eventually going to cause those red blood cells to burst.

So it's another type of anemia, because as those red blood cells are bursting, it causes those red blood cells to die. And red blood cells are the part of your blood that carry oxygen throughout your body. So again, if these red blood cells are bursting and dying, there's not enough oxygen being transferred throughout the body. And some symptoms of this type of disorder are fever, chills, and death. So this is a type of disorder that's actually more common in places that are very warm and moist, that have a lot of mosquitoes.

Leukemia another type of disorder. So leukemia is actually a type of cancer. So it's caused by a DNA mutation. Cancer is always caused by some sort of DNA mutation. So this type of DNA mutation will cause an overactive growth of white blood cells. And eventually, this will destroy bone marrow.

So you have these abnormal white blood cells that are produced. And they don't function normally. And there's actually several different forms of leukemia. But all of them somehow start in the bone marrow and then can spread throughout the body.

So the bone marrow in most of them is ending up getting destroyed. And if the bone marrow gets destroyed, bone marrow is where red blood cells are produced, so it's not good if the bone marrow is getting destroyed. So leukemia is a type of cancer.

Toxemia is the next disorder we're going to discuss here. So toxemia is the spreading of toxins in the bloodstream. It's also sometimes known as blood poisoning. So if you've ever heard of somebody having blood poisoning before, they actually had toxemia.

So what happens in this disorder is that metabolic wastes are not properly removed. So you have different organs and different structures in your body that take care of metabolic waste and dispose of it properly. But when it's not properly disposed, that metabolic waste will build up in your blood and cause you to have toxemia. So this can actually cause things such as anemia, which we just recently discussed, improper clotting, and possibly death.

And septicemia is the last disorder we're going to discuss today. Septicemia is when bacteria within the body will release toxins into the blood. And these toxins can damage or destroy red blood cells.

So an example of this is staph A, which is a type of infection, a bacterial infection. So if you've ever heard of MRSA, staph A is a type of antibiotic-resistant-- it's an antibiotic resistant strain of the staph bacteria. So that's an example of septicemia.

So this lesson this has been an overview on the various types of blood disorders and diseases and their characteristics.

Terms to Know

A group of disorders that affect a red blood cell’s ability to transport gases.


A cancer of red bone marrow that causes a significant increase in circulating white blood cells (leukocytes).


Malaria is caused by a parasite that is transmitted via mosquitoes. The parasite first infects the liver; from there, the infection spreads to red blood cells. 


When microorganisms, such as bacteria, get into the circulating blood and cause a system-wide infection.

Sickle Cell Anemia

Classified as hemolytic anemia, sickle cell anemia is caused by a genetic mutation that causes an abnormality in hemoglobin structure. The abnormal hemoglobin crystallizes and changes the shape of red blood cells from a short biconcave disk into a long sickle-shaped cell.


A general term to describe blood poisoning.