The body relies on healthy blood cell production to give it the energy needed to thrive. However, some individuals cannot create a sufficient amount of blood cells, or their body destroys those cells. Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a rare disease that affects mostly younger adults. It creates defects in the blood cells, potentially leading to more serious complications. Hematology physicians with Regional Cancer Care Associates provide expert treatment of PNH at more than 20 care centers across New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, DC area.
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is an acquired disease, meaning individuals can develop it at any time for any number of reasons. Some cases stem from underlying medical issues, such as aplastic anemia. PNH alters blood cell production by targeting bone marrow. Bone marrow is responsible for making the stem cells that eventually mature into platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells. PNH causes these stem cells to become defective by producing a gene called PIGA. These unusual cells then multiply, causing the body to mistake healthy red blood cells for a foreign substance. As a result, the body breaks down red blood cells sooner than usual, leaving the defective cells to multiply and take over.
People with PNH may experience varying symptoms. Many people with the disease may not show any signs. However, others can present with mild to severe symptoms. This is especially true for those with additional medical conditions. Some common symptoms of PNH include:
As the condition worsens, some patients may experience more serious complications, such as:
In addition, men with severe PNH can have erectile dysfunction.
Because PNH is a rare disorder, it can be difficult to diagnose. In addition, symptoms of the disease can be similar to those of other blood conditions, making comprehensive testing an important step in the diagnosis process. Doctors first assess the patient’s symptoms and physical condition. They also take a thorough medical history to see if additional complications are present. Once doctors have an understanding of the symptoms and medical history, they may order one or more of many testing methods, including:
PNH affects each patient differently, and the hematology specialists at Regional Cancer Care Associates understand this reality and work to create a highly individualized treatment plan for each patient. Treatment options for patients with PNH include:
With a dedication to providing comprehensive and patient-centered care, Regional Cancer Care Associates physicians are here to help patients obtain effective treatment for their blood disorders. We have more than 20 locations across New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington D.C. area. To learn more about treatment for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), contact us today or request an appointment.
If you need near-term or ongoing care for anemia or another benign blood disorder, schedule an appointment at Regional Cancer Care Associates. Patients have access to a full range of services across New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, DC area, making it easy to find a location convenient for you. Contact us today to learn more about our benign hematology services.
Regional Cancer Care Associates is one of fewer than 200 medical practices in the country selected to participate in the Oncology Care Model (OCM); a recent Medicare initiative aimed at improving care coordination and access to and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries undergoing chemotherapy treatment.