The spleen helps improve your immune system by filtering out old and damaged blood cells and storing blood cells to release when needed. Hypersplenism is a spleen disorder that results in the organ performing too well, removing or storing too many blood cells. Hypersplenism can impact your immunity and cause other health concerns. Danny Shouhed, M.D. is a top GI surgeon who offers hypersplenism treatment at his practice in Los Angeles.
Causes and Symptoms of Hypersplenism
In some cases, the cause of hypersplenism is not known, or idiopathic, in nature. This is a primary case of hypersplenism, versus a secondary case that is caused by another condition. There are a few different diseases and health issues that can result in the spleen overperforming in its blood cell filtering or storing duties, causing an enlarged spleen that can result in anemia. These disorders include:
- Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
- Severe bacterial or viral infections like malaria or tuberculosis
- Chronic liver diseases like hepatitis C and cirrhosis
- Certain types of cancer like lymphoma
When hypersplenism occurs, the spleen is enlarged and may reduce the healthy blood cells in the blood. Symptoms caused by the spleen enlargement include pain or fullness in the upper left abdomen area that can lead to reduced appetite. You may experience anemia that can cause headaches, weakness and shortness of breath. Those with hypersplenism may also have increased frequency of infections and illness.
Hypersplenism treatment depends on whether it is primary or secondary. Primary hypersplenism may require radiation to shrink the spleen or a splenectomy. Secondary hypersplenism may correct itself if the underlying disorder is treated.
To learn more about hypersplenism treatment, contact the office of Danny Shouhed, M.D. in Los Angeles to schedule an appointment. Dr. Shouhed is a board certified general surgeon that specializes in spleen disorders and offers advanced treatments for conditions like hypersplenism.