Welcome to MedPartner’s new health information blog. Our goal is to provide helpful health information, health news, and insights into a variety of health topics. We’re excited to provide important and informative health and wellness content, and we encourage our blog readers to comment, ask questions, or provide feedback. Check back often for new blog posts.
Our first blog post highlights the life-saving bone marrow transplant procedure.
The Important Work of a Bone Marrow Transplant
For patients with certain conditions such sickle cell disease, lymphoma, aplastic anemia, and neuroblastoma, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and including possible fatal blood cancers, like lymphoma and leukemia, a bone marrow transplant offers a chance for a cure and a longer life.
It’s also sometimes necessary to repair damaged marrow (where blood cells are manufactured) as a result of chemotherapy for cancer, as was the case with Good Morning America’s host Robin Roberts. We are happy to hear that Robin is expected back to Good Morning Amerca on February 20th after taking time off for her bone marrow transplant.
Bone Marrow Transplant Donor Awareness
The largest U.S. registry for bone marrow donors Be The Match National Marrow Donor Program encourages people to get involved or volunteer. Be The Match helps to connect donor matches with patients in need of a life-saving bone marrow transplants or children who need an umbilical cord blood transplant. It’s easy to determine if you are a match — all it takes is a cheek swap via a kit that Be The Match sends you.
What is Involved in a Bone Marrow Transplant?
The transplant process involves the removal of bone marrow stem cells, the filtering of those cells, and then either giving them back to the original patient or giving them to another person intravenously (IV) rather than through surgery. The ultimate goal of a bone marrow transplant is to remove unhealthy bone marrow and replace it with bone marrow cells that are healthy and function normally. If the bone marrow transplant is a success, the new marrow will begin producing healthy blood cells.
Image source: www.medindia.net
Risks of Bone Marrow Transplants
There are many side effects risks involved in bone marrow transplants, including fever, headaches, shortness of breath, pain, nausea, chills, graft-versus-host disease, delayed growth in children, infection, kidney, lung, liver, and/or heart damage. Additionally, there are risks of graft failures as well as the need to take immune suppressing drugs in order to treat Graft-versus-host disease, which weakens your immune system making even the common cold a significant health risk. Some of the risks are quite serious. However, for most people in need of this procedure, the benefits of a cure or longer life far outweigh the risks.
There’s no doubt that a bone marrow transplant may be a long, debilitating process. Once the life-saving transfusion is over, the long road to recovery begins. It can take as long as one year for new bone marrow to function regularly again, and along the way side effects and complications may develop. However, with proper monitoring and treatment, side effects and complications can be reduced.