Blood is composed of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Plasma is the term denoting liquid component of blood that contains largely water and some electrolytes and proteins. RBC or red blood corpuscles are the matter that transports oxygen in the blood and any variation in the normal level can cause health issues. Normal range of RBC is 4.7 to 6 million cells per microliter in males and 4.2 to 5.5 million cells per mcL in females. RBC is round and flat in shape and thick in the edges and thin in the middle.
But in some people, there are abnormally shaped RBC called poikilocytes in the blood. Increased number of poikilocytes in the blood is known as poikilocytosis. The term “poikilos” means “varied” in Greek and hence poikilocytes are abnormal/irregular shaped red blood cells in blood. Many types of poikilocytes exist in the blood and often 10% of your blood cells are these abnormally shaped cells.
Presence of poikilocytes in blood can lead to reduced oxygen content in your blood causing various health disorders. Due to increased presence of defective blood cells in blood, oxygenated nutrients are not supplied in normal manner to vital organs which can cause various problems. This disorder can be treated based on the symptoms and illness due to blood deficiency.
There are several kinds of poikilocytes in blood like burr cells, spur cells, target cells, sickle cells, teardrop cells, keratocytes, and elliptocytes and much more.
Poikilocytosis can occur due to vitamin deficiency in blood. Reduced number of folic acid in blood is the major cause of poikilocytosis.
Poikilocytosis can cause various health problems arising due to deficiency in oxygenated blood supply to various organs. This can cause anemia like symptoms and other diseases depending on the consequences. This can also be a sign of blood cancer in rare cases.
Blood film test would be conducted to detect the presence of poikilocytes in blood. Blood sample is taken and thin layer is placed on a microscope and examined to detect the irregular shape of poikilocytes. Your doctor may order for further testing like bone marrow testing and vitamin levels, after getting the results.
Underlying cause is to be identified before treating poikilocytosis. Excess number of poikilocytes in blood can be present due to sickle cell disease or anemia or celiac disease and much more. Hence your doctor will have to find the underlying factor causing this problem. Medical treatments are initiated along with lifestyle changes for treating celiac disease. Taking supplement of folic acid and vitamins are effective in case the problem is due to deficiency of vitamins.
Patients diagnosed with poikilocytosis can get well soon if the underlying cause is found correctly. By taking the medications specified by your doctor and making small changes in your lifestyle it is possible to get back normal range of RBC in blood. Nutrients would get absorbed regularly once the level of poikilocytes in blood is managed.