Red Blood Cell Disorders

Also known as: Anemia, blood disorders.

What are red blood cell disorders?

Red blood cells (RBC’s; erythrocytes) are the component of blood that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. There are a large number of hereditary (congenital) and acquired disorders that affect the production, number, shape, hemoglobin content and friability of red blood cells.

What causes red blood cell disorders?
The cause of red blood cell disorders will vary widely based on the type of condition. Some are caused by not having an adequate intake of certain vitamins and minerals in the diet, such as iron (very common). Others are genetic disorders that children are born with (uncommon) that may or may not be inherited from the parents. In many cases the cause is unknown.

What are the symptoms of red blood cell disorders? 
The symptoms will vary widely based on the type of disorder. Since many of these disorders lead to a lack of oxygen in the body, many children present with fatigue, pale skin, weakness, dizziness, confusion. There are many other signs and symptoms that children may present with, and your Nicklaus Hospital hematology (blood) specialist will explain how these come about.

What are red blood cell disorders care options? 
Depending on the cause, some red blood cell disorders can be treated with supplements (e.g. iron) or dietary changes, others may need medication and periodic blood transfusions throughout their lives in order to maintain their health.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 5/24/2018 9:37:33 AM

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At a young age, Bi’Yanie was diagnosed with sickle cell, a blood disorder that causes the cells to take on a crescent or sickle shape and can lead to very painful episodes called crises. Today, Bi’Yanie is getting stronger by the day, thanks to the bone marrow transplant she received at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

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