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Common causes of macrocytosis include: Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Folate deficiency. Liver disease. Alcoholism. Hypothyroidism. A side effect of certain medications, such as those used to treat cancer,... Increased red blood cell production by the bone marrow to correct anemia, for example,... ...
Quick Answer. Among the most common are vitamin B12 deficiency, folate deficiency, alcoholism, hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) and liver disease. Other causes include increased red blood cell production secondary to acute blood loss or the side-effects of medications such as those used to treat cancer.
Megaloblastic anemia is a blood disorder marked by the appearance of very large red blood cells that crowd out healthy cells, causing anemia.
There are multiple causes of enlarged red blood cells, which is termed macrocytosis, and most of them are easily corrected. Two of the most common causes are deficiencies in vitamin B12 and folic acid, which are frequently associated with anemia, as well.
Even low thyroid levels sometimes can cause large red blood cells and a high MCV. People with high turnover of red blood cells, such as those with a mechanical heart valve, have excess numbers of immature red blood cells, called reticulocytes. These fool the machine into reporting a high MCV.
Health Problems Due To Large Red Blood Cells Vitamin B-12. The underlying cause of larger blood cells is vitamin B-12 or folate deficiency. Alcoholism. The problem of large red blood cells is usually intensified by alcoholism. Pregnancy. The major causes of macrocytosis include hypothyroidism, ...
Megaloblastic anemia (or megaloblastic anaemia) is an anemia (of macrocytic classification) that results from inhibition of DNA synthesis during red blood cell production. When DNA synthesis is impaired, the cell cycle cannot progress from the G2 growth stage to the mitosis (M) stage. This leads to continuing cell growth without division, which presents as macrocytosis. Megaloblastic anemia has a rather slow onset, especially when compared to that of other anemias. The defect in red cell DNA synthesis is most often due to hypovitaminosis, specifically vitamin B12 deficiency or folate deficiency. Loss of micronutrients may also be a cause. Copper deficiency resulting from an excess of zinc from unusually high oral consumption of zinc-containing denture-fixation creams has been found to be a cause. Megaloblastic anemia not due to hypovitaminosis may be caused by antimetabolites that poison DNA production directly, such as some chemotherapeutic or antimicrobial agents (for example azathioprine or trimethoprim).
Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, of which pernicious anemia is a type, is a disease in which not enough red blood cells are produced due to a deficiency of vitamin B12. The most common initial symptom is feeling tired. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, pale skin, chest pain, numbness in the hands and feet, poor balance, a smooth red tongue, poor reflexes, depression and confusion. Without treatment some of these problems may become permanent. Pernicious anemia refers to anemia that results from lack of intrinsic factor. Lack of intrinsic factor is most commonly due to an autoimmune attack on the cells that create it in the stomach. It can also occur following the surgical removal of part of the stomach or from an inherited disorder. Other causes of low vitamin B12 include not enough dietary intake (such as in a vegan diet), celiac disease, or tapeworm infection. When suspected, diagnosis is made by blood and, occasionally, bone marrow tests. Blood tests may show fewer but larger red blood cells, low numbers of young red blood cells, low levels of vitamin B12, and antibodies to intrinsic factor. Because pernicious anemia is due to a lack of intrinsic factor, it is not preventable. Vitamin B12 deficiency due to other causes may be prevented with a balanced diet or with supplements. Pernicious anemia can be easily treated with either injections or pills of vitamin B12. If the symptoms are severe, injections are typically recommended initially. For those who have trouble swallowing pills, a nasal spray is available. Often, treatment is lifelong. Pernicious anemia due to autoimmune problems occurs in about one per 1000 people. Among those over the age of 60, about 2% have the condition. It more commonly affects people of northern European descent. Women are more commonly affected than men. With proper treatment, most people live normal lives. Due to a higher risk of stomach cancer, those with pernicious anemia should be checked regularly for this. The first clear description was by Thomas Addison in 1849. The term "pernicious" means "deadly", and was used as before the availability of treatment the disease was often fatal.
Macrocytosis is the enlargement of red blood cells with near-constant hemoglobin concentration, and is defined by a mean corpuscular volume (MCV) of greater than 100 femtolitres (the precise criterion varies between laboratories). The enlarged erythrocytes are called macrocytes or megalocytes (both words have roots meaning "big cell").