Reasons to see a hematologist

Hematologists focus on blood disorders and diseases that affect the blood cells. They also treat blood cancers and blood disorders that affect the bone marrow.

Hematologists may perform blood transfusions and other treatments to help treat blood disorders, such as anemia. They also treat blood disorders that affect the bone marrow or blood cancers.

A hematologist treats blood disorders and diseases that affect the blood cells.

Hematologists also specialize in disorders of the bone marrow, such as leukemia, a type of blood cancer.

Other types of doctors who treat blood disorders

Some other doctors who treat blood disorders include:

  • Oncologists who treat cancers
  • Oncology nurses who provide cancer care
  • Radiation oncologists who use radiation to treat cancers
  • Hematologists who treat blood cancers
  • Gastroenterologists who treat diseases of the digestive system
  • Pathologists who provide specialized tests and treatments for diseases of the blood

Some people who are likely to be referred to a hematologist may also be referred to other doctors.

They include:

  • Family doctors
  • Internists
  • Infectious disease specialists
  • Nephrologists
  • Oncologists
  • Pulmonologists
  • Rheumatologists
  • Cardiologists
  • Surgeons

What happens during hematology tests?

Hematology tests are usually done in a hospital or outpatient clinic. Your doctor may have you come in so they can show you where to go and when you’ll be examined.

Before the tests, you may need to sign a consent form. This will state that you understand the purpose of the tests and that you’ll get the results.

The tests usually take place in a laboratory. There you’ll be examined and treated with drugs to help your blood clot. The drugs will make your blood more visible under a microscope. This will help your doctor see if you have a disorder called thrombocytopenia, which causes low blood platelets.

Your blood will be taken and sent to a laboratory for tests. The results will be sent to your doctor. They’ll let you know if the results are normal or abnormal.

What are the risks of hematology tests?

There are no risks of having hematology tests.

What do the results mean?

Normal results

Normal results mean that your blood tests are normal and that you don’t have a disorder called thrombocytopenia.

Abnormal results

Abnormal results mean that you have thrombocytopenia.

Test results depend on your age and health. Your doctor may want to check your blood for other diseases and see how your blood clotting works.

Thrombocytopenia is usually a symptom of another disease or condition. It can also be a sign of a blood disorder, such as:

  • Aplastic anemia, a form of bone marrow failure
  • Anemia, a condition that causes low red blood cell counts
  • Coccidioides immitis infections
  • Polycythemia rubra vera, a rare form of a blood disorder that causes an abnormal amount of red blood cells

Thrombocytopenia causes the blood to clot less than usual. This can make it harder for blood to clot and cause bleeding if you’re injured. You may bleed more if you have:

  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood sugar
  • Other diseases or conditions that affect blood clotting

Thrombocytopenia also can cause:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood sugar
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness or fainting

Your doctor might order blood tests to check your blood platelet levels. Your doctor may check your platelets if you have:

  • Anemia
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Bone marrow failure
  • Polycythemia rubra vera
  • A disease that causes low blood platelets

How are hematology tests done?

Hematology tests are done in a laboratory. You may need to give a blood sample. Your doctor will draw blood from a vein in your arm or hand. This is usually done by a health care professional, such as a nurse or doctor.

Some tests require that you fast for several hours before a test. It could help to think about what you’ll eat before the test. You shouldn’t eat or drink anything until after the test.

The tests usually take several hours. You may need to wait a while to make sure your blood is flowing properly. This may take several hours.

If the tests take longer than usual, you may need to stay in the hospital.

What happens after a hematology test?

After the test, your doctor will give you medicine to help the blood clot. You may also be given a blood transfusion to increase the number of blood platelets in your blood. This can help prevent bleeding.

You’ll be able to go home the same day as the test.

What is the outlook for hematology tests?

Your outlook depends on the test and your age and health.

For example, thrombocytopenia is a common blood disorder. The number of blood platelets is usually low in people with aplastic anemia or bone marrow failure.

Both of these conditions can cause bleeding if you have a platelet count that’s too low.

A test that measures your blood’s clotting ability can help your doctor diagnose other conditions that cause blood clots. This can help your doctor figure out if you have thrombocytopenia.

You can lower your risk of bleeding by doing things to help your blood clot. These include:

  • Not smoking
  • Taking a blood thinner
  • Eating a healthy diet that includes foods rich in iron and vitamin C
  • Seeing your doctor regularly
  • Getting regular checkups

Thrombocytopenia is treated by treating the underlying disease causing it. This can help prevent bleeding if you have low blood platelets.

You can lower your risk of getting the condition if you start taking a blood thinner. A blood thinner helps your blood clot better.

You can also help prevent bleeding by eating a healthy diet. This includes foods that contain iron and vitamin C. And getting regular checkups and doctor visits can also help prevent bleeding.

The takeaway

Your hematologist can help you manage your blood disorder and your symptoms. This is especially useful if you have a blood clot or a bone marrow failure.

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