Large variations in the shapes of erythrocytes (red blood cells) is a condition called poikilocytosis, according to CellaVision. These shape variations, along with other symptoms, can indicate iron-deficiency anemia in humans. Patient.co.uk reveals that abnormal sizes in red blood cells may also indicate anemia.
Poikilocytosis is a general term because clinicians must determine what causes the variations in shapes. MediaLab Incorporated states that accurate diagnosis of red blood cell morphology is possible through scanning electron microscope technology. Such scans greatly increased hematologists' understanding of abnormal red blood cells.
Confirming an anemia diagnosis may include detecting the presence of these abnormally shaped cells, measuring serum ferritin and checking hemoglobin levels in blood. Patient.co.uk indicates that iron-deficiency anemia can be solved by diet and iron supplements as prescribed by a doctor.
Examples of abnormally shaped red blood cells include spherocytes, stomatocytes, target cells, leptocytes, sickle cells, elliptocytes, acanthocytes and echinocytes. Each of these different shapes may indicate a different blood disorder. "Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations" reveals identifying these shapes is crucial to diagnosis of blood diseases and disorders.
Poikilocytosis can indicate liver disease in cats. Resources from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine state that chemotherapy can cause abnormal shapes in blood cells. Poikilocytosis also points to problems in goats and other young ruminants.