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A 24-year-old female asked:

My ferritine is low but b12 is normal, however the doctor said my red blood cells are shrinking and misshaped. what dose that mean?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Lewis Hassell
Pathology 39 years experience
Ferritin: Ferritin measures the storage iron in the body. Iron is essential for synthesis of hemoglobin and formation of red cells. When iron is low the size and shapes of rbc are abnormally small as well as having less hgb You need to discover why iron is low- blood loss, diet, or poor absorption? Then treat cause.
Dr. Le Wang
Dr. Le Wanganswered
Internal Medicine 36 years experience
Iron Deficiency: The low ferritin denotes iron deficiency anemia. The normal red blood cells are similar in shape and size. In severe iron deficiency, the red blood cells often become smaller (microcytic/shrinking), lighter (hypochromic), and assume different shapes such as pencil or cigar-shaped cells (misshaped). This is classic picture of red blood cells under the microscopy when iron deficiency occurs.

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Last updated May 25, 2015

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