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John Kang | WebMD | Introduction to Hematology

John Kang | WebMD | Introduction to Hematology

In this installment of his medical-related posts, John Kang, your WebMD guide, shares a few key information about hematology, including diseases and the specialists trained to diagnose and treat them: hematologists.

Before anything else, John Kang WebMD guide, reminds everyone that all pieces of information that he has so far shared on this blog site, as well as those he will be sharing in future posts, are meant only to provide the reader with a few basic and general facts. Any medical information shared here should not be regarded as a diagnosis or a conclusive reference to conditions associated with the reader’s symptoms. The public is strongly advised to seek medical consultation from a trusted licensed physician or healthcare specialist. Image Source: OHC

What is hematology?

In medicine, hematology is the study of blood in relation to health and disorders or diseases. John Kang, volunteer WebMD guide notes that this branch of medicine is concerned with the following:

    • Red blood cells
    • White blood cells
    • Blood vessels
    • Platelets
    • Hemoglobin
    • Lymph nodes

Spleen

  • Bone marrow
  • Proteins related to clotting and bleeding

 

Doctors that specialize in hematology are called hematologists. They have studied and undergone training in Internal Medicine, and they have also completed a fellowship in hematology. Hematologists who have undergone additional training in the field of oncology are known as hematology-oncologists, shares John Kang, WebMD guide.

Hematology-Oncologists diagnose and treat patients dealing with blood-related cancers like leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

General Hematologists on the other hand, diagnose and treat blood disorders like hemophilia and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, which are types of bleeding disorders; hemoglobinopathies, which is a genetic disorder that causes one of the globin chains of the hemoglobin to develop an abnormal structure; blood clots, and anemia.

Additionally, shares John Kang, WebMD guide, hematologists may also specialize in blood transfusion, bone marrow transplant, and stem cell transplantation.

Hematology screening and tests

Different tests will be performed depending on the symptoms of the patient. The general test, and the most common as well, is a complete blood count (CBC). A complete blood count checks the patient’s red and white blood cells as well as their platelet count.

CBC is often performed as part of an individual’s annual, routine checkup. The total number of blood cells and platelets gives the doctor an idea of your general health condition. In results with discrepancies, the results could show that the patient has anemia or other types of blood disorders. Usually, a patient with symptoms (like fever, malaise, weakness or bruising) will be asked to have a CBC test done as well to identify the cause of the symptoms.

Patients on regular medication or those who have undergone chemotherapy treatment may also be required to have a CBC test done to determine if these treatments are affecting their blood, shares John Kang, WebMD guide.

Other hematology tests include blood staining to check the size and shape of blood cells and detect the presence of parasites, and antiglobulin test for blood typing and matching (for blood transfusion).

Stay tuned for more medical-related posts by John Kang, your WebMD guide.