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Terms Related to Blood

Anemia—a condition in which the blood is deficient in some type of blood cell, in hemoglobin, or in total volume

Anemias are named for the cause or the clinical characteristic of the cell or hemoglobin content. For example, pernicious anemia is a severe anemia marked by a decrease in the number but an increase in the size of red blood cells. Patients have weakness, pallor, and gastrointestinal disturbances with a lessened ability to absorb vitamin B12.

Anisocytosis—variation in size of cells and especially of the red blood cells (as in pernicious anemia)

Complete blood count—a blood count that includes separate counts for red and white blood cells

Differential—a blood count which includes separate counts for each kind of white blood cell

Macrocyte—an exceptionally large red blood cell that occurs in some anemias; also called megalocyte

Macrocytosis—the occurrence of macrocytes in the blood

Microcytosis—decrease in the size of red blood cells

Pancytopenia—an abnormal reduction in the number of all types of blood cells

Platelets—a cell in the blood that aids in clotting
 normal platelet count--150,000-400,000 per mm3

Poililocyte—an abnormally formed red blood cell characteristic of various anemias

Poikilocytosis—a condition characterized by the presence of poikilocytes in the blood

Red blood cell—a blood cell containing hemoglobin that carries oxygen to cells and tissues

White blood cell count—the count or the total number of white blood cells in the blood usually stated as the number in one cubic millimeter

White blood cell (leukocyte)—a blood cell that fights disease
There are several types of white blood cells which are of great clinical interest since their appearance, their shape, and their numbers in the blood can change in response to disease conditions.

Two types of leukocytes are granulocytes and agranulocytes.

Granulocytes—leukocytes with granular cytoplasm

These are produced in the red bone marrow and have short life spans. Granulo-cytes live for approximately 12 hours.

Three types of granulocytes are:

  1. Neutrophils—stain pinkish with acid stain and have a multi-lobed nucleus.
    • make up 54-62% of a normal blood count
  2. Eosinophils—stain deep red in acid stain with fewer lobes than neutrophils to the nucleus.
    • make up 1-3%  of cells in a normal blood count
    • counts are increased in allergic reactions and parasitic infections
    • can attract and kill certain parasites and remove biochemicals associated with allergic reactions
  3. Basophils—stain blueish in basic stain
    • make up less than 1 % of cells in a normal blood count
    • make up 3-9% of cells in a normal blood count
    • may be greatly increased in disease conditions

—leukocytes without granular cytoplasm

These are produced in red bone marrow.
Two types of agranulocytes are:

  1. Monocytes—the largest blood cells; usually 2-3 X’s larger than red blood cells
    • make up 3-9% of cells in a normal blood count
    • may be greatly increased in disease conditions
  2. Lymphocytes—smaller, rounder cells with a nucleus that almost fills the cell
    • make up 25-33 of cells in a normal blood count
    • may live for years!

White blood cells protect again infection.
Therefore, you would expect an increase to indicate infection.

  1. normal white blood count—5,000-10,000 mm3 blood
  2. Leukocytosis--an increase in wbc; over 10,000 mm3 blood
    • indicates acute infection
  3. Leucopenia—a decrease in white blood cells; under 5,000 mm3 indicates disease or some type of allergic reaction
    • ex. typhoid fever, influenza, measles, mumps, chicken pox, AIDS, polio, some toxic reactions

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