According to MediaLab, Inc., the term "RBC morphology" refers to the size, shape and color of red blood cells; it is not an illness and no treatment is required. However, the Medical College of Virginia explains that abnormalities in RBC morphology are associated with a number of conditions, including sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, heavy metal poisoning, tuberculosis, uremia and others. The treatment for each depends on the condition or disease.Continue Reading
The Medical College of Virginia's discussion of abnormal RBC morphology includes a number of different types of anemia, a term which the Mayo Clinic describes as a decreased number of red blood cells. One of the more common of these is sickle cell anemia, a disease in which hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells, is abnormal and causes the cells to assume a sickle shape. These cells die more quickly than normal cells, causing chronic anemia. Additionally, they are less pliable than normal red blood cells and stick together easily, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. This often results in blocked blood vessels, organ damage and severe pain. There is no cure for sickle cell anemia, but bone marrow transplantation may help some people who suffer from the disease.
A condition similar to sickle cell anemia is thalassemia, an inherited condition in which the body makes abnormal hemoglobin, which results in the rapid destruction of red blood cells, according to MedLinePlus. There are two main types of thalassemia: alpha and beta. The alpha form is most common in people from China, the Middle East and those of African descent. Beta thalassemia is more common in people of Mediterranean origin. Like sickle cell anemia, thalassemia is generally thought to be incurable; however, multiple transfusions and folate supplements slow the progression of the disease. In some cases, bone marrow transplantation may offer a cure.Learn more about Blood