Hematology is the science or study of blood, blood-forming organs and blood diseases.
In the medical field, hematology includes the treatment of blood disorders and malignancies, including types of hemophilia, leukemia, lymphoma and sickle-cell anemia. Hematology is a branch of internal medicine that deals with the physiology, pathology, etiology, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and prevention of blood-related disorders.
Hematologists focus largely on lymphatic organs and bone marrow and may diagnose blood count irregularities or platelet irregularities. Hematologists treat organs that are fed by blood cells, including the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus and lymphoid tissue.
Areas of study
Four major areas of study within hematology include hemoglobinopathy, hematological malignancies, anemia and coagulopathy. Hemoglobinopathy is the study of abnormality in the globin chains of hemoglobin molecules. In addition to sickle cell anemia, thalassemia (also known as erythropoiesis) is part of hemoglobinopathy. The area of hematological malignancies is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the bone marrow, blood and lymph nodes. Myeloma is one type of hematological malignancy, along with leukemia and lymphoma.
Hematology oncology: Although hematologists work together with experts from various medical and surgical specialties, hematology is most often linked with oncology. Hematologists and oncologists work together to care for adults and children with cancers of the blood and bone marrow, including leukemia and lymphoma.
Hematology tests: One of the most common hematology tests is the complete blood count, or CBC. This test is often conducted during a routine exam and can detect anemia, clotting problems, blood cancers, immune system disorders and infections.
Other hematology tests include:
• Blood chemistry test;
• Blood enzyme test;
• Blood tests to assess heart disease risk.
Hematological tests can evaluate numerous conditions involving blood and its components. They can also be used to diagnose inflammation, anemia, infection, hemophilia, blood-clotting disorders, leukemia, and response to chemotherapy, among many other things. Let's take a look at some of these tests.
Complete Blood Count Test: A complete blood count (CBC) measures several components and features of your blood. A CBC and its individual components are tested on whole blood.
It can include measurements of the following:
- White Blood Cells: White blood cells (WBC) make up the body's primary defense system, and knowing their number is an important tool in diagnosing and monitoring infection and leukemic disorders. A normal WBC level is 4,500 - 11,000 per mm³ of blood.
- Red Blood Cells: Red blood cells (RBC) are responsible for the transport and exchange of oxygen. Measurement of RBCs is important in monitoring the effects of blood loss and the progression of chronic disease. Normal counts of RBCs are 3,900,000 - 5,800,000 per mm³ of blood.
- Hemoglobin: Hemoglobin (HgB) is the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells. Hemoglobin levels are a direct reflection of the amount of oxygen in the blood. A normal hemoglobin concentration is 11-15 grams per deciliter of blood.
- Hematocrit and Platelets: Hematocrit (HCT) is the proportion of red blood cells to plasma, the fluid component of your blood. A normal percentage of hematocrit is 33 to 49%.
Journal of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
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