Aplastic anemia is a rare, potentially fatal disease in which the bone marrow doesn't make enough blood cells. The bone marrow is the central portion of the bones that is responsible for making:
Red blood cells, which carry oxygen
White blood cells, which fight infection
Platelets, which help blood to clot
The bone marrow releases the cells and platelets into the blood stream.
A complete blood count (CBC) is a blood test that measures the number of red cells, white cells and platelets circulating in the blood stream. People with aplastic anemia have low levels of all three types of blood cells that are normally manufactured in the bone marrow.
Aplastic anemia is a problem with cells in the bone marrow called stem cells. Stem cells are the basic "mother cells" that develop into the three types of blood cells. In aplastic anemia, something either destroys the stem cells or drastically changes the environment of the bone marrow so that the stem cells can't develop properly.
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