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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  U.S. Physician/Surgeon in Neurosurgery
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What are the dangers and or symptoms of large red blood cells

Resolved Question:

What are the dangers and or symptoms of large red blood cells? I have been told by my Doctor that mine are large and I am worried.   Thank you
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.
Was this part of a routine blood test?

Or were you having particular symptoms?

Do you drink alcohol - alot? Or have a poor diet?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Yes, it was part of a routine blood test   NO, I was not having any symptoms. Yes, I do drink alcohol a lot. No, I do not have a poor diet.
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 8 years ago.

The enlarged red blood cell that your doctor was referring to is called "macrocytosis", or simply the larger size of the red blood cell on the blood test, as measured by the lab.

It can be seen in a number of conditions, but when the enlargement is mild, the reason for the enlargement is effects of chronic alcohol use on the bone marrow (which makes the red blood cell).

It can also come from Vitamin B12 deficiencies, folate deficiency, liver disease, or medications, so if the macrocytosis is severe, it can cause anemia and require treatment directed at the underlying condition. Most commonly, it is simply a finding on the blood test - but is an indication that your alcohol use can be affecting your body in an adverse way.
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