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Bone Marrow Disorders

Bone marrow is a soft, spongy tissue that is present in the hollow spaces in the interior of the bones, such as the hip and thigh bones. Bone marrow contains stem cells which in turn develop into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. A disease in the bone marrow may disturb the stem cell production which causes abnormality in the mature blood cells. Genetic or environmental factors, infection may all contribute to bone marrow disorders.

Types of bone marrow disorders

There are various diseases that may affect the structure and function of bone marrow.  The common types of bone marrow disorders include:

  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia: It is a disease which produces too many white blood cells in the bone marrow.
  • Polycythemia Vera: It is a rare blood disease which is caused due to the over production of red blood cells and thus blocks the flow of blood in the arteries and veins.
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS): It is a disease in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells.
  • Aplastic anemia: It is a bone marrow disease that does not produce enough new red blood cells.

Signs and symptoms

The various signs and symptoms of bone marrow disorders are:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Bruising
  • Poor healing
  • Shortness of breath


The doctor first takes a detailed history and performs a physical examination to for the signs indicating bone marrow disorders. He then recommends the following diagnostic tests.

  • Complete blood count is done to determine the number, size, shape and types of blood cells. It helps in checking the health status of the individual. In this test, a small amount of blood is drawn from a vein in the arm of the patient and is sent to the laboratory. The test results help in diagnosing the type of bone marrow disorder.

The normal blood count test results for adults:

1. Red blood cell count Male: 4.32-5.72 trillion cells/L

(4.32-5.72 million cells/mcL)

Female: 3.90-5.03 trillion cells/L

(3.90-5.03 million cells/mcL)

2. Hemoglobin Male: 13.5-17.5 grams/dL

(135-175 grams/L)

Female: 12.0-15.5 grams/dL

(120-155 grams/L)

3. Hematocrit Male: 38.8-50.0 percent

Female: 34.9-44.5 percent

4. White blood cell count 3.5-10.5 billion cells/L

(3,500 to 10,500 cells/mcL)

5. Platelet count 150-450 billion/L

(150,000 to 450,000/mcL)

L- liter; mcL- microliter; dL- deciliter

  • Blood smear is performed to assess the changes in the morphology of the blood cells. The blood smear is stained and viewed under the microscope to detect the changes and abnormalities in the blood cells.
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy is a method used to evaluate the blood cells present within the bone marrow. Bone marrow aspiration is usually performed along with a biopsy of the bone marrow. In this procedure the patient is first given local anesthesia to numb the area and a hollow needle is used to remove a small sample of the soft tissue present inside the bone marrow. The needle is inserted into the hip region in adults and into the upper part of the larger bone (tibia) in children. The fluid portion of the bone marrow is drawn out and the sample is sent to the laboratory for testing. The test results help in determining the type and stage of the bone marrow disorder.
  • Karyotyping is performed to detect the chromosome abnormalities
  • Immunophenotyping is performed to diagnose leukemia or lymphoma
  • Imaging tests such as MRI, CT scan and X-ray help in detecting the spread of the disease to various other parts of the body.


The following are a few treatment options for bone marrow diseases:

  • Folic acid supplements
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Blood transfusion
  • Platelet transfusion
  • Bone marrow transplantation

Why choose Apollo Diagnostics?

We have the expertise of 34 + years in healthcare. Our labs are equipped with EQUAS (External Quality Assurance System) and loaded with full automated machines to ensure error free reports, with a quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price. For your convenience, we offer free home collection of samples.

For appointments, please call 4444 2424.            


  1. Bone Marrow and Bone Marrow Failure. Accessed on 24-10-2017
  2. Bone Marrow Diseases. Accessed on 24-10-2017
  3. Bone-Marrow Diseases and Anemia. Accessed on 24-10-2017
  4. Bone Marrow Aspiration. Accessed on 25-10-2017
  5. Blood Smear. Accessed on 25-10-2017
  6. Bone Marrow Diseases. Accessed on 25-10-2017
  7. Bone Marrow Disorders. Accessed on 25-10-2017

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