What is Anisocytosis & How is it Treated? Causes, Symptoms, Prognosis of Anisocytosis

What is Anisocytosis?

Anisocytosis is a pathological condition characterized by unequal size of the red blood cells. Anisocytosis is quite nonspecific as there can be numerous reasons for the red blood cells to be of unequal size. This condition is mostly seen in people with a known diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia. This is because most of the iron is stored in the red blood cells which then help the red blood cells carry oxygen to various parts of the body.  A low level of iron in the blood often results in depleted levels of red blood cells [1, 2, 3].

Anemia can be classified into three categories namely microcytic in which the red blood cells are smaller in size than normal; macrocytic is when the red blood cells are larger in size than normal; normocytic when there is no deviation in the size of the red blood cells from normal but it is just the levels that are low.  Anisocytosis occurs when there is significant variation in the size of these red blood cells [1, 2, 3].

What Causes Anisocytosis?

As stated, there can be numerous factors that can affect the size of red blood cells.  However, some of the primary causes of Anisocytosis include [3]

Anemia: As mentioned, this condition by far is the most closely associated with Anisocytosis.  Anemia is an extremely common blood disorder affecting over 3 million people in the United States. There are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of a person developing anemia. These include a diet that lacks adequate vitamin C and iron. People with problems with their intestines also at times have an increased risk for developing anemia [3].

Some females develop anemia as a result of pregnancy and menstruation. Certain infections also increase the likelihood of a person developing anemia. Autoimmune disorders, renal dysfunction, thyroid disease, and some types of cancers also can at times cause anemia [3].

Anemia can be classified into iron deficiency anemia which is extremely common, vitamin deficiency anemia caused by low vitamin B12 or folate, aplastic anemia which is quite rare and is the result of problems with the functioning of the bone marrow, hemolytic anemia, and sickle cell anemia [3].

There are also certain other medical conditions that can cause Anisocytosis. These include chronic liver disease, myelodysplastic syndrome, protein deficiency, and thalassemia.  There have been cases of Anisocytosis after blood transfusions as well.  This is mainly caused due to the change in blood from the donor to the recipient.  This type of Anisocytosis is temporary and resolves with time [3].

What are the Symptoms of Anisocytosis?

Anisocytosis causes variation in the shape and size of the red blood cells.  This interferes with the transportation of oxygen throughout the body.  As a result the person will feel tired and fatigued.  The person may have problems with breathing.  He or she may complain of dizziness and headaches.  The hands and feet will feel cold to touch.  The skin becomes pale and the individual often complains of chest pains as well [3].

How is Anisocytosis Treated?

The underlying cause determined the treatment plan for Anisocytosis.  It is essential to get to the bottom of the underlying cause in cases of Anisocytosis so that an accurate treatment plan is formulated.  In most cases, v is caused due to anemia due to iron or vitamin deficiency.  Treatment for iron deficiency is quite straightforward with iron supplementation either through medication or through diet [3].

Eating foods rich in iron is quite effective in dealing with iron deficiency anemia.  Ferrous sulfate is the most preferred iron supplement that is extremely beneficial for treatment of iron deficiency.  Some foods rich in iron include green leafy vegetables, pulses, beans, nuts, meat, fish, and eggs.  Taking vitamin supplements can also help in dealing with anemia due to vitamin deficiency [3].

In rare instances, blood transfusion may have to be done.  The purpose of the transfusion is to replace the blood with abnormal red blood cells with blood that has normal cells.  In cases if the cause is determined to be a medical condition or an infection then treating the underlying cause can take care of Anisocytosis [3].

What Is The Prognosis Of Anisocytosis?

Anisocytosis itself is not a medical condition to be worried about.  However, the underlying cause resulting in Anisocytosis can at times be potentially serious.  This is the reason why identifying the cause is essential for early diagnosis and treatment so that if there is something serious going on it can be dealt with at the earliest and any complication arising out if it can be prevented.  The treatment plan, recovery, and overall prognosis completely depend on the underlying cause of Anisocytosis [3].

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