Who Is A Hematologist And When You Should Visit One
Recommendation of blood tests by your physician can be a very common way of knowing if your body is functioning properly? However, not all blood tests are normal ones to check the proper functioning of your body, a few of them are a little more critical. And certain critical blood related issues may prompt your physician to refer you to a hematologist doctor near you.
A hematologist is a specialist whose expertise encompasses all blood-related diseases and conditions. Hematology is the science or study of blood, blood-forming organs, and blood diseases. Basically, hematology deals with the treatment of blood disorders and malignancies, including blood diseases like hemophilia, leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia, etc.
What Does A Hematologist Do?
Hematologists specialize in a branch of internal medicine that deals with the physiology, pathology, etiology, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and prevention of blood disorders. In order to provide the right treatment plans based on the condition of the patients, hematologists work closely with surgeons, radiation oncologists, and other specialists. Hematology Specialists create a personalized plan for you and coordinate aspects of care, to provide the best options with surgical treatment, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.
The proper coordination and implementation of the treatments suggested by hematologists are often accompanied by the support of lab technicians. They examine the blood samples and hematopoietic tissue, providing information on abnormalities and problems identified during laboratory examination. A hematologist may also treat inherited blood diseases if they have specialization in genetic testing.
When Should You Visit A Hematologist?
While there can be several different reasons for which your physician or oncologist will refer you to a hematologist doctor near you. Some of the common ones are if you are suffering from
Leukemia is a form of blood cancer in which too many white blood cells are made which obstructs the functioning of the red blood cells. Excessive production of WBC restricts the RBC and platelets, responsible for transporting and clotting blood respectively. Some of the common symptoms for which you should visit a hematology specialist include
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Sudden weight loss
- Easy bruising
- Discomfort in the spleen (under the lower left ribs)
- Visual problems and
- Ringing in the ears.
See a hematologist doctor near you as soon as possible if you experience these symptoms.
Lymphoma is similar to leukemia and refers to problems in WBCs. However, the origin of the disease is different from leukemia and so is the treatment. Lymphoma is cancer that starts in the lymphocytes, which are cells mainly dedicated to fighting infections. You may be referred to a hematology doctor if you show symptoms like
- Shortness of breath
- Cough and
- Swollen lymph nodes
Anemia is a condition characterized by a lack of healthy blood cells to carry enough oxygen throughout the body. The diagnosis tests referred by hematology doctors for anemia may include the aforementioned CBC to check levels of hemoglobin and hematocrit. Additionally, the CBC evaluates the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the blood. If the CBC tests indicate that you have anemia, the hematology specialist will order additional blood tests to analyze the severity of the disease, as well as the ideal treatment plan. These additional tests may include
Reticulocyte count: A test to measure the number of premature red blood cells in the blood
- Peripheral smear: A test that determines if you have iron deficiency and whether your RBC are smaller and paler than normal.
- Serum iron: A test that measures the amount of iron in the blood.
- Sickle Cell Anemia:
Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder and is most common in the people of Africa. The symptoms of sickle cell anemia are quite similar to those of anemia, including jaundice and fatigue. Sometimes there is also swelling of the extremities, usually the feet and hands. You should immediately visit a hematologist doctor near you if you see any of these symptoms.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis:
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot, or thrombus, forms in one or more of the deep veins, most commonly in the legs. The common symptoms of DVT may include extreme pain in the leg and swelling. Deep vein thrombosis can develop as a result of certain medical conditions or long periods of sedentary life, such as after an accident or surgery. It is important to get the diagnosis done by a hematology specialist because this disease can be fatal, if the blood clots break free, travel through the bloodstream, and enter the lungs.
Hemophilia is usually caused by a deficiency of platelets which slows or prevents blood clotting. Common symptoms include
- Bleeding gums
- Nosebleeds that seem to last a long time
- Joint swelling and
- Any prolonged bleeding from minor cuts or injuries.
You should visit a hematology doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.
Diseases related to blood and especially blood cancers can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated at the right time. If you or your loved ones are struggling with blood related diseases, schedule an appointment with the best hematologists at Sierra Hematology and Oncology.