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What is the microcytosis and what can cause it

Microcytosis is a term that can be found in the hematology report that indicates whether red blood cells are smaller than normal, and may also indicate the presence of red microcytic blood cells. Microcytosis is evaluated through the Average Corpuscular Volume (MCV), this is a parameter that indicates the average size of red globules and the reference value is between 80.0 and 100.0 fL, however, this value may vary according to the laboratory. Know more about the VCM.

For microcytosis to be of clinical importance, it is recommended that the MCV result be interpreted together with other parameters measured in hematology, such as: Corpuscular Hemoglobin Mean (HCM), Hemoglobin value, Corpuscular Mean Hemoglobin Concentration (CHCM) and RDW, which is the parameter that indicates the size variation between red globules.

main causes

When in hematology it is verified that the MCV is altered and the value is close to the reference value, normally not of great importance, being able to represent a momentary situation, called discrete microcytosis. However, when the values ​​are very low, it is important to check if any other parameter is changed. If the other parameters evaluated in the hematology are normal, it is recommended to repeat the exam again.



Generally, microcytosis is related to alterations at the nutritional level or to the formation of hemoglobin. Therefore, the main causes of microcytosis are:

1. Thalassemia

Thalasemia is a genetic disease characterized by changes in the process of hemoglobin synthesis, in which there is a mutation in one or more globin chains, resulting in functional alterations of red blood cells. In addition to an altered MCV, it is probable that other indices are also altered, such as HCM, CHCM, RDW and hemoglobin.

As there are changes in the hemoglobin formation process, the transport of oxygen to the tissues is altered. In this way, some symptoms of thalasemia arise, such as tiredness, irritability, pallor and alteration in the respiratory process. See how to recognize the signs and symptoms of thalasemia.

2. Hereditary spherocytosis

Hereditary or congenital spherocytosis is a disease characterized by changes in the red blood cell membrane that make them more small and less resistant, with a higher rate of red blood cell destruction. So, in this illness, in addition to other alterations, it confirms a lower number of red blood cells and a reduced MCV.



As its name indicates, the spherocytosis is hereditary, it is decided, it passes from generation to generation and the person is born with this alteration. However, the severity of the illness can vary from person to person, and it is important to start the treatment immediately after the birth of acceding to the orientation of the hematologist.

3. Infections

Chronic infections can also cause red microcytic globules, because the permanence of the agent responsible for the infection in the body can lead to nutritional deficiencies and changes in the immune system, altering the hematological indices and other laboratory parameters in the soil.

To confirm the infection, it is important that the doctor request and evaluate other laboratory tests, such as the C-Reactive Protein (PCR) test, urine test and microbiological test. The hematology may suggest infection, but other tests are necessary to confirm the diagnosis and initiate appropriate treatment.

4. Hierro deficiency anemia

Anemia due to deficiency in blood, also called iron deficiency anemia or iron deficiency anemia, is characterized by low amounts of blood circulating due to low nutrition or as a result of bleeding or severe menstruation.

The decrease in the quantity of hierro directly interferes in the quantity of hemoglobin, as it is fundamental in the process of its formation. As a result, when there is a lack of hierro, there is a decrease in the quantity of hemoglobin, giving rise to some signs and symptoms such as weakness, frequent tiredness, feeling of faintness, hair loss, weakness of the nails and lack of appetite.

Most cases of iron deficiency anemia occur as a result of nutritional deficiencies. In this way, the solution is to change eating habits, increasing the consumption of foods rich in food, such as spinach, grains and meat. See how the treatment of iron deficiency anemia should be.

5. Anemia of Chronic Illness

The anemia of chronic illness, is a common type of anemia that occurs in patients who are hospitalized, having alteration in the soil in the value of the VCM, also in the HCM, CHCM, RDW and in the hemoglobin. This type of anemia is more frequent in patients with chronic infections, inflammatory and neoplastic diseases.

As this type of anemia usually occurs during treatment, diagnosis and treatment are established immediately, to avoid major complications for the patient. See how to recognize the symptoms of anemia.

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