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Medical History and Physical Examination for Blood Disorders

By

David J. Kuter

, MD, DPhil, Harvard Medical School

Last full review/revision Jun 2021| Content last modified Jun 2021
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Topic Resources

Medical History

Doctors may suspect a blood disorder based on a vast number of possible symptoms. In addition, certain factors in a person's medical history indicate that the person is at risk. Some examples include the following:

Physical Examination

During the physical examination, doctors look for specific physical findings that can be related to a blood disorder.

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Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a life-threatening disorder in which certain blood cells become cancerous and rapidly replace normal cells in the bone marrow. As normal blood cells are replaced by cancerous cells, people with AML become anemic from too few red blood cells. They develop infections easily because there are too few white blood cells to fight infections, and their blood does not clot well because of too few platelets. Which of the following additional symptoms of AML may be caused by having too few white blood cells?
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