Hematology is the medical specialty dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of blood diseases and disorders. Hematologists treat conditions with the red and white blood cells, platelets, lymph nodes, bone marrow, blood vessels, and the spleen.
Blood conditions can be benign or malignant. Common non-cancerous blood disorders include anemia and hemophilia. Patients with anemia have a deficiency of oxygen-rich red blood cells, while individuals with hemophilia experience excessive bleeding due to the blood’s inability to clot properly.
Cancerous blood conditions include leukemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Leukemia originates in the bone marrow and involves quickly multiplying abnormal white blood cells that disrupt blood functions. Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas create problems within the body’s immune system, while multiple myeloma affects the plasma cells of the body.
Hematologists also treat conditions related to the proteins that trigger bleeding and clotting, usually known as thrombosis and hemostasis. Thrombosis refers to the formation of abnormal blood clots that become embedded in a major vein or artery, blocking blood circulation. Blood clots can cause pain, swelling, or warmth in the affected area, and can be life-threatening. Hemostasis is the process of controlling bleeding.