Hematology is the science or study of blood,
blood-forming organs and blood diseases. The medical aspect of hematology is
concerned with 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 also focus on lymphatic organs and bone marrow and may
diagnose blood count irregularities or platelet irregularities. They are able
to treat organs that are fed by blood cells, including the lymph nodes, spleen,
thymus and lymphoid tissue.
Hematology science involves the five types of white
blood cells — neutrophils, monocytes, lymphocytes, eosinophils and
basophils. Red blood cells are also known as erythrocytes.
Plasma is the liquid component of blood that carries
blood cells through the body. Nutrients, waste, antibodies, proteins, and
hormones are also transported in plasma.
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 another major type hematological
malignancy, along with leukemia and lymphoma. Anemia is concerned with the loss
of hemoglobin from the blood, which can result in organs not receiving enough
oxygen. Excessive bleeding and blood clotting are the primary concerns of
coagulopathy. Fibrins are proteins that help form blood clots, and platelets
(also known as thrombocytes), which are small cell fragments involved in the
Other disorders which may be treated by a hematologist
include arterial thromboembolism, deep-vein thrombosis and neutropenia.
The body produces new blood cells via hematopoiesis.
Connection to other branches of medicine
Hematology is often linked with
oncology, which is the branch of medicine that deals with
cancer. One treatment of cancer is chemotherapy, which is defined as the
destruction of cancer cells.
A medical technologist performs the laboratory work
associated with hematology.
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