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What is Anisocytosis?

Anisocytosis is a condition characterized by a notable variation in the sizes of red blood cells, often detected in blood tests. This can signal underlying health issues, such as anemia or bone marrow disorders. Intriguingly, the size differences are visible under a microscope, revealing the diverse landscape of our blood's components. How might these variations impact your health? Join us to uncover the implications.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Anisocytosis refers to abnormality in red blood cell size. This typically means that blood tested would show blood cells of varying sizes instead of all them appearing relatively uniform. The condition tends to be more a symptom of other diseases, though outward symptoms of the illness usually are similar, no matter the cause. Treatment, on the other hand, can be different, depending on causal factors.

There are many different illnesses or medical conditions that may result in anisocytosis. Many of these are anemic conditions, which affect red blood cell production. Some varying anemic illnesses that may cause variation in blood cell size include sideroblastic anemia, congenital dyserythropoietic anemia, congenital forms of anemia, and thalassemia. Certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies may also affect the way red blood cells are produced, and people with iron, vitamin B12 or vitamin A deficiency can get this change in blood cell size.

Red blood cells are usually uniform in size.
Red blood cells are usually uniform in size.

Other circumstances might be responsible for causing this condition. Sometimes people get it after they have a blood transfusion. If the transfused red blood cells are smaller or larger than those of the person receiving the transfusion, anisocytosis may result, but is usually temporary.

When people have anisocytosis, they may have a variety of symptoms. The most obvious of these can be tiredness or exhaustion. People may also get breathless easily. Some folks also suffer from pounding or rapid heartbeat.

Sometimes people get anisocytosis after they have a blood transfusion.
Sometimes people get anisocytosis after they have a blood transfusion.

The three symptoms above principally arise from the fact that the size differences of red blood cells mean oxygen is carried with less efficiency to the body’s tissues. Other symptoms reflect this poorer oxygen carrying ability too. People may have notable paleness of the skin, eyeballs, and nail beds. It’s observable that many of these symptoms are identical to a number of forms of anemia symptoms, or to conditions like heart failure. Presence of symptoms like these are always indication to see a physician for treatment.

Tiredness and exhaustion are the most obvious symptoms of anisocytosis.
Tiredness and exhaustion are the most obvious symptoms of anisocytosis.

As previously mentioned, treatment is highly individualized to underlying condition causing anisocytosis. Basic anemia that results in unusual differences in red blood cell size might be treated with iron supplementation. A vitamin deficiency would be corrected with the appropriate vitamin in supplement form. The degree to which anisocytosis is treatable depends fully on its cause. With severe illnesses that are incurable, eliminating red blood cell size differences may be impossible.

In some cases, the cause of anisocytosis may be discovered through a routine blood panel.
In some cases, the cause of anisocytosis may be discovered through a routine blood panel.

Anisocytosis usually suggests problems with the body’s ability to produce red blood cells of fairly uniform size. It may be a condition that remains a challenge or that is easy to treat. The treatment almost always depends on underlying cause and thus, a huge range of potential treatment outcomes exist because causes are so profuse. The illness does need medical attention because it is important to help the red blood cells more efficiently carry oxygen as quickly as possible to improve patient health.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...

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    • Red blood cells are usually uniform in size.
      By: ArenaCreative
      Red blood cells are usually uniform in size.
    • Sometimes people get anisocytosis after they have a blood transfusion.
      By: Max Tactic
      Sometimes people get anisocytosis after they have a blood transfusion.
    • Tiredness and exhaustion are the most obvious symptoms of anisocytosis.
      By: mario beauregard
      Tiredness and exhaustion are the most obvious symptoms of anisocytosis.
    • In some cases, the cause of anisocytosis may be discovered through a routine blood panel.
      By: spflaum
      In some cases, the cause of anisocytosis may be discovered through a routine blood panel.
    • Anisocytosis after a transfusion is caused by a drastic difference in the size of the red blood cells from the donor and the patient.
      By: sudok1
      Anisocytosis after a transfusion is caused by a drastic difference in the size of the red blood cells from the donor and the patient.