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Hypochromia: definition, symptoms, treatments

Hypochromia is a medical term that refers to a loss of color in an organ, tissue, or cell. It can in particular be used in dermatology to qualify hypochromic cutaneous tasks or in hematology to designate hypochromic red blood cells.

What is hypochromia in dermatology?

In dermatology, hypochromia is a term used to describe a loss of pigmentation of integuments such as skin, hair and hair. It can also be used to describe a loss of color in the eyes.

What is the cause of tissue hypochromia?

Hypochromia is due to a lack of melanin, a natural pigment produced by melanocytes within the body and responsible for the color of the skin, hair, hair and eyes. Hypochromia can be caused by a lack of production of melanin or destruction of this pigment.

The lack of melanin can have many origins. It can be due to an infection, an autoimmune disease or a genetic disease. Among the causes of hypochromia in dermatology, we find for example:

  • the albinism Oculocutaneous , characterized by a complete lack of melanin in the skin, hair, hair and eyes;
  • partial albinism or piebaldism, which, unlike oculocutaneous albinism, affects only the skin and the hair;
  • the vitiligo , an autoimmune disease that causes gradual disappearance of melanocytes, cells responsible for the synthesis of melanin;
  • the hypopituitarism , characterized by a stop hormonal secretions of the anterior pituitary may cause depigmentation of the integuments and mucous membranes;
  • the tinea versicolor , a fungal infection that can lead to the onset of hypopigmented tasks, also called hypochromic skin tasks.

How to treat hypochromia in dermatology?

The management of hypochromia depends on the diagnosis of the dermatologist. In case of fungal infection, anti-infective treatments may for example be implemented. In some cases, there is currently no available treatment. Preventive means are nevertheless recommended to limit the evolution of depigmentation. Prevention includes protection of the skin, hair and eyes against ultraviolet (UV) rays.

What is hypochromia of red blood cells?

In hematology, hypochromia is a medical term that can be used to refer to an abnormality in red blood cells (red blood cells). Red blood cells are hypochromic when they appear abnormally pale when examined by the May-Grünwald Giemsa staining method. Red blood cells are called hypochromes.

What is the cause of hypochromic red blood cells?

The pallor of red blood cells reveals a lack of hemoglobin. Indeed, hemoglobin is the element within red blood cells that gives them their famous red color. It is also the protein responsible for the transport of oxygen within the body, hence the importance of rapid management of hypochromia of red blood cells.

In medicine, this hemoglobin deficiency is called hypochromic anemia. It is characterized by an abnormally low level of hemoglobin in the blood. Hypochromic anemia can have many causes including:

  • iron deficiency ( iron deficiency anemia ), a trace element that contributes to the synthesis of hemoglobin;
  • an inherited genetic abnormality, such as thalassemia.

How to detect hypochromic anemia?

Hypochromic red blood cells can be observed with May-Grünwald Giemsa staining. Using different reagents, this method can differentiate different populations of blood cells in a blood sample. This coloration makes it possible to identify red blood cells, or red blood cells, which are recognizable by their red color. When these blood cells appear abnormally pale, we talk about hypochromia of red blood cells.

Hypochromic anemia is often diagnosed by measuring two blood parameters:

  • mean corpuscular hemoglobin content (MCHT), which estimates the amount of hemoglobin in red blood cells;
  • mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), which corresponds to the average hemoglobin concentration per red blood cell.

We talk about hypochromia of red blood cells in case:

  • TCMH less than 27 μg per cell;
  • less than 32 g / dL.

What is the management of hypochromic anemia?

The treatment of hypochromic anemia depends on its origin and its evolution. Depending on the case, hemoglobin deficiency may for example be treated by iron supplementation or blood transfusion.

In the most severe cases, a bone marrow transplant may be necessary.

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