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Anisocytosis: what it is, causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

In blood tests, the term anisocytosis is used, associated with an abnormality where cells (red and white blood cells) have different sizes instead of having a balanced volume among all. This term can be used in the face of abnormalities in the dimensions of any cell. Still, when found in blood, this irregularity is usually an indication or alert to various problems in the body, so its causes should be treated promptly.

At FastlyHealwe will talk to you in an understanding way about anisocytosis: what it is, its causes, and its treatment.

anisocytosis: meaning

When we perform a blood or tissue analysis, one of the expected results within a healthy condition is that the size of the blood cells or cells of the same type is uniform among them. In the case of blood, the size of the erythrocytes (red blood cells) present must also respect this principle. When the opposite is evident, the cells – erythrocytes or leukocytes – are of variable sizes, facing anisocytosis.

Anisocytosis diagnosis is made using a parameter called Red Blood Cell Distribution Width (ADE, or RDW). This is a measure of the variation of the mean corpuscular volume, that is, the average size of the erythrocytes, which is between 82 and 97 femtoliters. Anisocytosis can present with microcytosis (blood cells smaller than usual) and macrocytosis (larger). The following article will talk about this reference parameter and explain what RDW is in a blood test.

Causes of anisocytosis

The presence of these irregular values ​​in the blood usually refers to or makes one suspect that there are significant problems with vitamin and nutritional deficiencies, mainly of:

Another essential etiologies is related to problems in the red bone marrow, which is found within our bones and responsible for erythrocytes’ production. In this group of etiologies associated with the spinal cord, we could see the following situations:

  • Myelodysplastic syndromes: those where there is poor functioning in the bone marrow in terms of the production of erythrocytes due to genetic predispositions or environmental factors.
  • Leukemias .
  • Thalassemias (hereditary or Mediterranean anemia).
  • Autoimmune diseases .

Other possible causes of anisocytosis are:

  • Alcoholism.
  • Chronic liver diseases.
  • Blood transfusion: where the red blood cells received are smaller or deficient in comparison to the erythrocytes of the recipient, but this anisocytosis should be temporary (while the body manages to replace itself with its red blood cells).
  • Chemotherapy: both due to the destruction of erythrocytes that it causes and their intoxication if they are not destroyed.

All these deficiencies, diseases, and conditions have in common the development of anemia or weakness in the quantity and quality of blood, reflected in the anisocytosis of the erythrocytes produced and, in some cases, of hemoglobin.

Anisocytosis: symptoms

As we have seen, Anisocytosis produces anemia and, with it, a reduction in oxygen transported in the blood, which is why its most common symptoms are easy fatigue and dizziness.

In some circumstances, there may be tachycardia or palpitations, as well as pale skin and nails. The risk of the appearance of such symptoms may increase when being in high mountain areas with lower oxygen concentrations. It can also be caused by receiving blows or developing wounds in cases of anisocytosis caused by autoimmune diseases. The activation of the alarm in this system will indeed attack the red blood cells.

Treatment of anisocytosis

To know the most appropriate treatment against anisocytosis, the leading cause must be identified from the list mentioned previously.


If food and nutritional deficiencies are involved, it will be necessary to modify the subject’s diet, ensuring that they consume foods that provide the essential nutrients and at the same time eliminate those that harm the system and nutritional absorption.

  • Iron: nuts, meats such as seafood, fish, beef, vegetables, and greens such as chard, spinach, broccoli, and parsley. Also, foods with vitamin C facilitate its absorption.
  • Vitamin B9: spinach, avocado, nuts, and beets, as well as citrus fruits.
  • Vitamin B12: all proteins from animal sources, ensuring that they are always in their natural form and preferably organic (processed forms such as sausages, hams, and sausages concentrate fewer nutrients and reduce the ability to absorb them).
  • Foods that reduce the absorption of nutrients: gluten (present in wheat, rye, and other cereals) is associated with a reduction in the absorption of nutrients at the intestinal level, as it creates a kind of mucus that covers or covers the intestinal villi responsible for such function. Although they provide some of these nutrients, dairy products also generate this effect in the medium and long term.

Nutritional supplements and medications

Iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12 supplementation, among other relevant supplements, may be recommended, preferably under supervision and prescription. Some of them can also be administered through infiltrations.

The steroid injections with anti-inflammatory purposes can be a palliative action if anisocytosis by autoimmune diseases, although not cure the disease or its cause, only reduces the immunoreaction, and thereby the attack on erythrocytes and bone marrow, including possible consequences. Blood transfusions are another alternative if you have reached critical levels of anisocytosis or low hemoglobin.

Bone marrow transplant

This process becomes relevant only in anisocytosis products of leukemias, myelodysplastic syndromes, or any other situation where the cause is present in bone marrow dysfunction and degeneration.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Anisocytosis: what it is, causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .

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