What does it mean if the red blood cells are larger than normal

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Red blood cells larger than normal is called Macrocytosis. It typically causes no signs or symptoms and is usually detected incidentally on routine blood tests.

Macrocytosis may indicate an underlying problem that requires medical evaluation. 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, seizures and autoimmune disorders


Increased red blood cell production by the bone marrow (regeneration) to correct anemia, for example, after blood loss

If you have macrocytosis, blood tests can help determine its cause. In some cases, bone marrow biopsy and aspiration are necessary.

As long as further tests disclose the underlying disease, doctors start to treat the underlying diseases.

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