Disorders of Red Blood Cells
Henry is 77 years old and lives with his daughter and son-in-law. He has chronic renal failure but likes to get out whenever he can work in his daughter’s backyard garden. Over the last few months, he began to go outside less often. He said that he was feeling unusually tired and he was running out of breath doing the simplest of tasks. He also said that his head ached, and he often felt dizzy. His daughter took him to his doctor who performed a complete physical examination and diagnosed Henry with anemia.
1. From what you know of Henry’s history, what type of anemia do you suspect he has? How would Henry’s red blood cells appear on a peripheral blood smear?
2. What is the physiologic basis that would explain why Henry’s anemia would cause him to have the symptoms he is experiencing?
3. Predict the cellular adaptations erythrocytes undergo when chronic hypoxia is present. How would this be evident on an oxygen-hemoglobin dissociation curve?