What Do Enlarged Red Blood Cells Mean ?

What Do Enlarged Red Blood Cells Mean ?

Red blood cells, or erythrocytes, generally appear as round and flattened biconcave discs. When the person is healthy, the red blood cells are called normochromic (normal color) and normocytic (normal size). A cell diameter of 7 to 8 microns is considered normal. In some cases, the erythrocytes would appear unusually large and swollen. In such cases, these cells are called macrocytic (enlarged size) and the condition called macrocytosis.

  • Dietary deficiencies:
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Folate deficiency
  • Medical disorders
  • Liver diseases due to excess consumption of alcohol or any other underlying disease condition
  • Side effects of consuming drugs or medications
  • Irregular functioning of the thyroid gland leading to hypothyroidism
  • A sudden blood loss

Anemia results in decreased intake of oxygen to various cells and tissues. In order to compensate for this decreased oxygen intake, the body tries producing large cells. This automatically means more space for carrying oxygen. It however does not help in improving the efficiency of carrying oxygen.
Instead, an enlarged red blood cell leads to various other complications like:

  • Lethargy, weakness, fatigue
  • Sore tongue, glossitis (inflammation and redness of the tongue)
  • Dyspnea
  • Breathlessness, difficulty in breathing
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Palpitations
  • Impairment of overall functioning of the body

Treatments include:

  • Consumption of balanced diet with importance being laid on inclusion of Vitamin B12 and folate rich foods in the diet
  • Supplements and drugs if necessary to reverse the condition
  • Blood transfusion in severe cases

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What Do Enlarged Red Blood Cells Mean ?