Hematology is a medical branch that focuses on the study of blood through clinical laboratory work, internal medicine and pathology. Various medical conditions and diseases, such as cancer, are closely related to hematology. Here are some common terms to help you understand the processes used in the field.
Blood Transfusion - The process of transmitting blood or blood components into the circulatory system of a patient, to replace lost components. The blood is usually donated by a healthy person and separated into red cells, plasma, platelets and other components of the blood.
Hemophilia - A hereditary disorder that causes excessive bleeding due to failed blood clotting mechanisms. Various treatments and therapies are implemented by hematologists to help patients with the disease.
Anemia - A condition associated with a diminished number of red blood cells or hemoglobin. There are various types of anemia, including sickle cell anemia, which is caused by the sickle shape of the blood cells.
Hematology Laboratory - A lab that works to treat and test blood products. This may involve testing samples of blood and marrow to diagnose serious diseases.
Blood Test - The collection and testing of a patient's blood sample to search for indications of disease.
Hematologist - A doctor who specializes in hematology. They diagnose and treat blood related disorders. Many hematology doctors specialize in oncology.
Oncology - A branch of medicine that focuses on cancer diagnosis and treatment. Blood tests conducted by hematologists are essential to oncology.
Bone Marrow Transplant - A procedure used for leukemia and other blood disease, where bone marrow components are transplanted into a sick person's body.
Plasma - The fluid component of blood, which provides movement for white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.
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Cancer, hemophilia, leukemia, and sickle cell anemia are diagnosed by hematologists. Hematology and oncology specialists take a blood and plasma sample to a lab, view it under high powered microscopes and offer a diagnosis. This is only the start. These doctors also know the best treatments for diseases and genetic conditions. They'll advise the patient and ensure they get the care they need. By studying genetic traits, prevention of some of these diseases is possible.
In Ancient Egypt, people were treated by tapping into an artery or vein and draining amounts of fluid. Though not always successful, this was the basis for hematology. The first IV was offered in the 1600s, transfusions between humans and animals resulted. During the 1800s, Samuel Armstrong Lance completed a transfusion to help a patient with hemophilia. The pathology of sickle cell anemia was discovered in 1910. In 1941, Dr. Louis Diamond published a guide to pediatric disorders and diseases.
A major medical advancement happened in the 1950s. Hematologists tested a product that could stop bleeding in hemophiliacs. The discovery of a platelet's role in coagulation followed. By preventing coagulation, blood can be stored for transplant patients and others. Modern medicine keeps improving helping diagnose disease faster. Today's oncology doctors are studying the use of stem cells to treat many diseases, including cancerous tumors.
Anyone suspected of having a disease or health disorder requires immediate clinical care. This is the key role of a hematologist. The physician diagnoses, shares lab test results and comes up with a treatment plan that will help. Hematology is the key to diagnosing disease and genetic conditions.