Diagnosis by Blood Smear Test
Peripheral blood smear tests, in which a blood sample is taken and then observed under a microscope, can serve a variety of functions:
- To assess the levels of red and white blood cells.
- To diagnose any disease or disorder that affects blood cell production or growth.
- To monitor the effectiveness of treatment for diseases like leukemia.
Results of a blood smear test include several measurements. The first measurement is the red blood cell (RBC) count. The test results will note irregularities in size, shape, or color of the red blood cells. A significant portion of over-sized cells can indicate a vitamin deficiency; common vitamin deficiencies include B12 and folate, and may be indicative of anemia or alcoholism. Small or undersized red blood cells may indicate an iron deficiency or a more serious genetic disorder.
Red Blood Cells
Red blood cells should be round. There are several shape abnormalities that could occur with red blood cells: Crescent shaped cells are indicative of sickle cell anemia, whereas cells with a scalloped edge might indicate liver disease. Dark red blood cells might indicate dehydration; pale cells indicate low levels of hemoglobin in the blood. Immature blood cells appear blue on a blood smear test.