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Illnesses Associated With Lupus

What blood disorders are associated with lupus?

Anemia is the most common blood disorder associated with lupus. About 50% of people with lupus also have anemia. In people with anemia, red blood cells don't bring enough oxygen to the other cells of the body. This can happen because there are too few red blood cells or because the red blood cells don't have enough hemoglobin. That is the substance that gives blood its color and carries oxygen. When the cells don't get enough oxygen, the body can feel tired, a common symptom of anemia and of lupus.

Thrombocytopenia is a low blood platelet count. That can cause bruising and bleeding. Bleeding can take the form of nosebleeds, blood in the stool, and tiny reddish or purplish spots on the skin or mucous membranes. While relatively common, bleeding is rarely serious, but it is important enough to notify a doctor.

Lupus anticoagulant is not actually an anticoagulant (blood thinner) but a substance in the blood that can increase the development of blood clots. These blood clots, known as thromboses, can form within a blood vessel in the arms, legs, brain, and other areas. The clots can break away and travel to other parts of the body.

Lymphocytopenia (also known as lymphopenia) and granulocytopenia refer to shortages of two types of white blood cells, lymphocytes and granulocytes. A reduced number of white blood cells can compromise the body's ability to fight off infection.

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Other serious conditions associated with lupus

Last Updated: 04/2011