Here Are Some Common Blood Cell Conditions

Blood Cell Conditions

Polycythemia Vera

What is it?

Polycythemia vera is a type of blood cancer that causes the blood marrow to make too many red blood cells. These excess cells thicken the blood and slow its flow. Symptoms of polycythemia vera include:

  • Itchiness
  • Numbness
  • A feeling of fullness soon after eating
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Painful swelling of one joint
  • Shortness of breath

How is it Rated?

Ratings Symptoms
100% If it requires a peripheral blood or bone marrow stem-cell transplant, or treatment with chemotherapy.

*This 100% rating continues for 6 months following the last treatment or discharge from the hospital. The condition is then reevaluated and re-rated.

60% In order to control the red blood cell count, if it requires a phlebotomy to be performed 6 or more times each year or if it requires molecularly-targeted therapy
30% If it requires a phlebotomy to be performed 4 or 5 times each year, or if it requires continuous therapy (with biologic or myelosuppressive agents, like interferon) to keep the platelet count under 200,000 or the white blood cell count under 12,000
10% If it requires a phlebotomy 3 or less times each year, or if it requires intermittent biologic therapy (like interferon) in order to maintain appropriate levels

Agranulocytosis

What is it?

Agranulocytosis is a condition where the bone marrow does not produce enough white blood cells. Symptoms of agranulocytosis include:

  • Sores in the mouth, throat, or gastrointestinal tract
  • Chronic infections of the gums, throat or skin
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Drop in blood pressure

What is Important to Know?

Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that are essential to the immune system. There are two main different types of treatment that can be used to maintain an acceptable level of neutrophils in the blood. In medical reports, this will be noted as the ANC (absolute neutrophil count), and will include a volume count in microliters (µl), for example, ANC = 750/µl.

One type of treatment used to keep the ANC up is myeloid growth factors. These are agents that help produce blood cells. The most common myeloid growth factors are granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). The second most common type of treatment used to boost the ANC is immunosuppressive therapy—basically drugs, like cyclosporine that suppress the immune system.

How is it Rated?

Ratings Symptoms
100% If the condition requires a bone marrow transplant, the rating will continue for 6 months following the transplant and then the condition will be re-evaluated and re-rated.

Whether or not a transplant if performed, if infections occur at least once every 6 weeks every year on average.

60% If continuous immunosuppressive therapy or intermittent myeloid growth factors are needed to keep the ANC between 500/µl and 1,000/µl, or if an infection occurs at least once every 3 months each year on average
30% If intermittent myeloid growth factors are needed to keep the ANC above1,000/µl, or if an infection occurs at least once a year on average
10% If intermittent myeloid growth factors are needed to keep the ANC at 1,500/µl or above, or if the condition at least requires continuous medication, like antibiotics

Myelodysplastic Syndromes 

What is it?

Myelodysplastic syndromes are a group of disorders caused by poorly formed blood cells or ones that don’t work properly. Signs and symptoms of myelodysplastic syndromes include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual paleness
  • Easy or unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Pinpoint red spots just beneath your skin
  • Frequent infections

How is it Rated?

Rating Symptoms
100% If the condition requires a bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplant, or if it requires chemotherapy.

*This 100% rating continues for 6 months following the last treatment or discharge from the hospital. The condition is then reevaluated and re-rated.

60% If the condition requires 4 or more blood or platelet transfusions each year, or if it causes 3 or more infections that require hospitalization each year
30% If the condition requires 1 to 3 blood or platelet transfusions or if it causes 1 or 2 infections that require hospitalization each year or if it requires ongoing biologic therapy or if it requires erythropoiesis stimulating agent for 12 weeks or less each year

Veterans Help Group have been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. If you or a loved one served, and suffer from a blood cell conditions, we are here to help. Call Veterans Help Group at 855-855-8992 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.

 

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