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Introduction 

Introduction

Chapter:
Introduction
Author(s):

D J Weatherall

and Chris Hatton

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199204854.003.02201_update_001

Update:

Chapter reviewed December 2012—minor changes only.

Updated on 30 May 2013. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 24 May 2017

Almost all diseases can produce changes in the blood, and primary haematological disorders can affect any organ system. The general clinical approach to the patient with a haematological disorder involves the following:

This should place particular emphasis, depending on the presenting problem, on (1) symptoms of anaemia; (2) overt blood loss—gastrointestinal or menstrual; (3) dietary history and evidence of malabsorption; (4) weight loss, night sweats, fever, bone pain, and pruritus—which may indicate a lymphoproliferative or myeloproliferative disorder; (5) drug ingestion—many drugs produce haematological side effects; (6) bruising/bleeding—has the patient bled significantly in the past following dental extractions or minor surgical procedures?; (7) family history—may give useful clues to the cause of bleeding or anaemia, as may the ethnic origin of the patient’s ancestors....

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