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Symptoms of Blood Disorders

By

David J. Kuter

, MD, DPhil, Harvard Medical School

Last full review/revision Jun 2021| Content last modified Jun 2021
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Blood disorders can cause various symptoms in almost any area of the body. Most commonly, symptoms are caused by decreases in the blood components.

Occasionally, symptoms may relate to increases in blood components.

When blood disorders cause a person's blood to become thickened, the thickened (more viscous) blood may have difficulty passing through small blood vessels, decreasing blood flow to certain areas of the body, which is a serious condition called hyperviscosity syndrome Hyperviscosity syndrome Neutrophilic leukocytosis is an abnormally high number of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) in the blood. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that help the body fight infections... read more . Affected people may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, and confusion. Hyperviscosity syndrome can occur in people who have multiple myeloma Multiple Myeloma Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells in which abnormal plasma cells multiply uncontrollably in the bone marrow and occasionally in other parts of the body. People often have bone pain... read more , in which it is caused by increased immune system proteins.

Although people may have bleeding after an injury or a medical procedure (such as dental procedures) or during menstruation, the presence of some blood disorders makes such bleeding worse.

Some symptoms are more suggestive of a blood disorder. Just a few examples include the following:

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