The red blood cells have a disk shape 7.5 microns in diameter. Having no nuclei, this cell has a hollow, translucent appearance in the center.
Their number, their shape can be studied by taking a blood test, and more precisely by asking for a blood count (NFS). The level of hemoglobin (Hb) contained in the red blood cells will also be known.
Normally, the number of red blood cells is between 4.5 and 5.5 million / mm3 (figures slightly higher in men than in women).
Hemoglobin is normally between 14 and 17 g / 100 ml, in humans. A little less in women.
The mean red blood cell volume (RBC) is also measured to assess their volume. Normally, VGM: between 80 and 97 fl.
But also the TCMH (average corpuscular content in hemoglobin), normally between 27 and 32 pg.
And the MCHC (mean corpuscular concentration of hemoglobin) is between 32 and 36 g / dl.
These values make it possible to refine the diagnosis in case of anomaly.
Down ... anemia
When the number of red blood cells is decreasing, anemia occurs. It is evaluated mainly by the rate of hemoglobin.
This drop of course occurs in case of bleeding, certain infections, hematological diseases, some cancers, kidney failure, etc. A decrease in the number of red blood cells is also observed when taking certain drugs, especially anti-cancer drugs (chemotherapy).
The signs of anemia are fatigue, pale skin and mucous membranes (inside the eyelid), repetitive infections.
Complementary examinations can be carried out to know the origin of the anemia.
Abnormal shape, volume, color
The red blood cells can be of abnormal size: too small (microcytes) or too large (macrocytes). This is the case in some anemias.
In other diseases, their shape may vary, having the appearance of a sickle (in case of sickle cell disease), a stick ...
Other times, red blood cells may contain abnormal inclusions, with granulations for example in case of malaria. Staining of red blood cells can also be modified in certain conditions.
Finally, another abnormal situation: the presence of blood and therefore red blood cells in the urine, semen or stool. A red color can be alerted. But other times, this research is done by specific exams.You want to react, to give your testimony or to ask a question? See you in our FORUMS!
Read also :
> Iron deficiency anemia
> Hemolytic nemia
> Blood in the urine: is it serious?
> Blood in the stool: causes to treatment
Source: Critical reading of the hemogram, threshold values to be known as probably pathological, and main non-pathological variations - professional recommendation. HAS 1997.