Pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) treatment

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How it works

Consult with our health coaches who will learn about your symptoms, habits, and goals.


Take personalized home health tests to discover potential root causes of any symptoms or conditions you may have.


Review your results in just days with our functional medicine doctors, nurses, and dietitians who will help you achieve optimal health.

Learn about Pure red cell aplasia (PRCA)

Pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) is a rare condition characterized by the striking reduction of red blood cell precursors in the bone marrow, leading to anemia, while leaving the white blood cell and platelet productions intact. It can occur at any age and presents itself either as a primary disorder or secondary to other conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, certain cancers, or exposures to drugs or toxins. The prevalence of PRCA is low, with cases often spread throughout the world without a clear demographic predisposition.


The exact cause of primary PRCA remains unknown, though it is thought to involve autoimmune mechanisms where the body mistakenly targets and suppresses its own red blood cell precursors. Secondary PRCA can be triggered by a variety of factors including viral infections (like parvovirus B19), certain medications (for example, those used in chemotherapy), exposure to toxic chemicals, autoimmune diseases (such as lupus), and lymphoproliferative disorders. Understanding these triggers is key to managing the condition and tailoring treatment to the individual.


Signs and symptoms

- Fatigue and weakness - Shortness of breath - Pallor (a pale appearance of the skin) - Dizziness or lightheadedness - Heart palpitations - Enlargement of the spleen (splenomegaly) in some cases

Diagnosing Pure red cell aplasia (PRCA)

Diagnosis of PRCA involves a thorough medical history and physical examination, followed by a series of tests. Blood tests are fundamental, revealing a low red blood cell count with normal white blood cell and platelet counts. A bone marrow biopsy is crucial for the diagnosis, showing a marked reduction in red blood cell precursors. Additional tests might include checks for autoimmune markers, viral infections, and other underlying conditions that could trigger PRCA.


Prevention and natural treatment

Preventing PRCA mainly involves managing risk factors where possible, such as avoiding exposure to known toxins and managing underlying autoimmune diseases effectively. Treatment strategies for PRCA, particularly from a functional medicine perspective, focus on identifying and addressing underlying causes. In cases of drug-induced PRCA, discontinuation of the offending medication is the first step. For PRCA linked to viral infections, antiviral therapy may be initiated. In functional medicine, treatments may also include dietary modifications to support bone marrow health and reduce inflammation. Supplements such as iron, vitamin B12, and folate might be recommended if deficiencies are present. Autoimmune forms of PRCA may benefit from immunosuppressive therapy, which should be approached with caution and guided by a healthcare professional. Advanced cases of PRCA might require blood transfusions or, in rare instances, stem cell transplantation. Addressing lifestyle factors, such as stress reduction and maintaining a balanced diet, is also considered integral to the management of PRCA. Tailored approaches that consider the whole person—such as acupuncture, meditation, and other holistic practices—might support overall wellbeing and complement traditional treatments, although their direct impact on PRCA requires further scientific investigation.

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