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Red blood cells (RBC, erythrocytes)

Red blood cells deliver oxygen to the body’s tissues by travelling through the circulatory system. They are round, smooth and have a red tinge. If red blood cells appear in this intact shape, they are called isomorphic or eumorphic and do not come from the glomerulus. If red blood cells become damaged, they are called dysmorphic red blood cells. Their deformation occurs when they pass through the glomerular structures of the kidney, but it can also happen when they are exposed to urine for a prolonged time. The term for pathological dysmorphic red blood cells is ‘acanthocytes’. Their presence can indicate a glomerular disease such as glomerulonephritis.
If there are a few red blood cells in urine, this can be considered normal. A high number of red blood cells, however, can indicate the presence of injuries, crystals, renal calculi or urinary tract infections.

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