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Hematology: A comprehensive guide to blood and its importance

Team AckoJan 18, 2024

Blood has some intricate functions in the lives of humans. They include the transportation of essential compounds such as oxygen and nutrition throughout the body, regulating the body's water and acidity balance, and giving support to fight against illnesses. Blood disorders can influence the entire body system, notably the lymphatic system, which is a complex network of tissues and organs that eliminate toxic substances. Blood disorders may occasionally be triggered by abnormalities in the bone marrow, which is the production house for the majority of its blood cells. Hematology examines how these disorders happen, how they affect the health of a person, and what the treatment options are.




What is Hematology?

Hematology is a sub-specialty of internal medicine that focuses on the study of blood, blood-making organs such as bone marrow, blood-related conditions, and diseases. Hematological tests are performed to identify and diagnose disorders like anaemia, haemophilia, sickle cell anaemia, leukaemia, lymphomas, and several other infections. It also deals with both malignant and benign conditions of the red and white blood cells, platelets, and coagulation processes in adults and children.

Types of Hematology

The branch of Hematology is predominantly divided into four types. They are as follows.

  • Hemoglobinopathy: It is the study of haemoglobin deficiency in the blood, which may lead to sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and other disorders.

  • Hematological malignancy: It is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers.

  • Anaemia: It is the study of lowered haemoglobin, or red blood cells.

  • Coagulopathy: It is the study of bleeding abnormalities that indicate how well the body is able to form blood clots.

Common Hematology tests

Blood tests can help with the diagnosis of Hematological and non-Hematological diseases and disorders. Some of the common blood tests may include the following.

1. Complete blood count (CBC)

One such common blood test to diagnose the disease is a complete blood count (CBC) test. It measures the white and red blood cell count, haemoglobin concentration, platelet count, differential white blood count, hematocrit volume, and numerous other red blood parameters. Infections, anaemia, blood malignancies, and inflammatory conditions are all diagnosed using complete blood counts.

2. Differential blood counts 

It measures the proportion of each type of white blood cell (WBC) in your blood. It also tells whether any cells are abnormal or underdeveloped.

3. The prothrombin time (PT) test

This test evaluates the amount of time it takes your blood to clot. 

4. Reticulocyte count

This test determines how many immature blood cells (reticulocytes) are present in your blood. The test is performed to assess if red blood cells are being produced at a sufficient rate in the bone marrow. The amount of reticulocytes in the blood indicates how quickly the bone marrow produces and releases them. A healthy person’s reticulocyte count should be between 0.5 and 2.5%.

5. Peripheral blood smear (PBS)

This test determines whether your red and white blood cells and platelets are normal based on their appearance, number, and shape. Parasites in your blood can also be detected using a blood smear.

6. The bone marrow test

The bone marrow test is an uncommon Hematological test that includes analysing bone marrow cells to see if there are malignant cells in your bone marrow, such as multiple myelomas.

7. International normalized ratio (INR)

If you are on a blood thinner, such as warfarin, your healthcare provider can evaluate the findings of your blood clotting studies with those of other laboratories to ensure that the medicine is working properly and your liver is in good health. This is referred to as an international normalised ratio (INR).

Who is a haematologist?

Haematologists are highly skilled medical professionals who specialise in blood and blood-related diseases. They treat a variety of Hematological illnesses, especially blood and bone marrow malignancies.

Benign blood disorder haematologists use different blood smears, tests, and molecular diagnostic tools to determine a correct diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan for their patients.

Malignant hematological specialists specialise in treatment procedures such as bone marrow transplants that have been used to cure many blood malignancies.

Hematology-oncologists are cancer experts who treat patients with drugs rather than surgery. They also do cancer screening tests, oversee chemotherapy regimens, and collaborate with other professionals such as pathologists, radiation oncologists, and oncology surgeons.

What is haematopathology?

Haematopathology is the study of abnormalities and illnesses identified in blood cells, their synthesis, and any organs and tissues involved in hematopoiesis or the formation of blood and bone marrow cells. Haematopathologists often use flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry techniques for the detection and treatment of diseases such as leukaemia and lymphoma.

When to seek a haematologist’s help?

If your healthcare professional suspects you to have a systemic infection in the blood caused by a localided infection, sickle cell disease, hemophilia, blood cancer, bone marrow cancer, lymph node cancer, deep vein thrombosis, or anaemia, he may refer you to a haematologist.

If you suffer unexplained bouts of fatigue, dizziness, weakness, or shortness of breath, or if you have pale, yellowed skin, your general practitioner may recommend you consult a haematologist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs about Hematology.


What is the simple explanation of Hematology?

Hematology focuses on the study of blood, blood-making organs such as bone marrow, blood-related conditions, and diseases.

What are the different types of Hematology?

The different types of Hematology may include the following.

  • Haemoglobinopathy is the study of hemoglobin deficiency in the blood.

  • Hematological malignancy is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers.

  • Anaemia is the study of lowered hemoglobin or red blood cells.

  • Coagulopathy is the study of bleeding abnormalities which signifies how well the body is able to form blood clots.

What does a Hematology test do?

Hematological tests can assess a wide range of diseases involving blood and its elements. They can also be used to diagnose anemia, inflammation, infection, blood-clotting problems, haemophilia, leukaemia, and response to chemotherapy.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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