* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
- Anemia sideroblastic
Your QuestionI have had sideroblastic anemia for many years and have never been able to learn much about it. I take a multivitamin without iron, which appears to keep the symptoms at bay. Are there any new treatments for this disease? Am I at risk to develop leukemia as a result of sideroblastic anemia?
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Questions on this page
- What is sideroblastic anemia?
- What are the symptoms of sideroblastic anemia?
- What causes sideroblastic anemia?
- How is sideroblastic anemia diagnosed?
- How might sideroblastic anemia be treated?
- Is there an association between sideroblastic anemia and leukemia?
- What is the prognosis for individuals with sideroblastic anemia?
The treatment of sideroblastic anemia is directed at controlling symptoms of anemia and preventing organ damage from iron overload. Many patients see improvement with increased vitamin B6 intake - either through diet (potatoes, bananas, raisin bran cereal, lentils, liver, turkey, and tuna are good sources) or supplements - with red blood cell counts returning to near-normal values. Folic acid supplementation may also be beneficial. Those that do not respond to vitamin supplementation require blood transfusion.
A few small studies have described the use of allogenic bone marrow or stem cell transplantation for hereditary and congenital forms of sideroblastic anemia. While these therapies may offer the possibility of a cure, the complications associated with transplantation surgery must be considered.
Major causes of death in cases of sideroblastic anemia are secondary hemochromatosis from transfusions and leukemia. The patients who die of acute leukemia tend to have a more severe anemia, a lower reticulocyte count, an increased transfusion requirement, and thrombocytopenia.
Thrombocytosis appears to be a relatively good prognostic sign. Patients with no need for blood transfusions are very likely to be long-term survivors, whereas those who become transfusion dependent are at risk of death from the complications of secondary hemochromatosis.
- Escott-Stump S. Nutrition and Diagnosis-Related Care. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007;
- Ferri F. Anemia, Sideroblastic. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2010, 1st ed. . Elsevier; 2009;
- Anemias, Sideroblastic. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). 2007; http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdbdetail_abstract.html?disname=Anemias%2C%20Sideroblastic. Accessed 12/9/2009.
- Alcindor T, Bridges KR. Sideroblastic Anemias. The Information Center for Sickle Cell and Thalassemic Diseases. 2001; http://sickle.bwh.harvard.edu/sideroblastic.html. Accessed 12/9/2009.
- Mir MA, Logue GL. Sideroblastic Anemia: Follow-up. eMedicine. 2008; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1389794-followup. Accessed 12/9/2009.