According to the Mayo Clinic, enlarged red blood cells, or macrocytosis, is a non-specific medical condition that has a number of different causes. 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.
According to the American Society of Hematology, red blood cells are the largest component of human blood, making up 40 to 45 percent of its volume. They get their bright red color from the protein hemoglobin, which is responsible for transporting oxygen to the body’s cells. Under normal circumstances, red blood cells are a uniform shape and size, the latter of which is defined as the mean corpuscular volume or MCV. According to American Family Physician, when the MCV is greater than 100, macrocytosis exists.
The most common cause of macrocytosis is vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia, a disorder in which the cells of the intestine do not properly absorb Vitamin B12. In some cases, particularly in people with alcoholic liver disease, it also may be caused by poor nutrition. In those cases, it generally is accompanied by folate deficiency as well.
Medications may also cause macrocytosis. In recent years, a large increase in the number of patients diagnosed with this condition has been attributed to the reverse transcriptase inhibitors such as stavudine , lamivudine and zidovudine that are used in the treatment of HIV. In older persons, myeloproliferative disorders, also known as refractory anemia, may cause macrocytosis as well. Less severe elevations in the MCV are sometimes related to kidney, liver, thyroid, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.Learn More
According to information provided by the Anaesthesia Education Website and Wikipedia, a 10 percent NaCl solution is hypertonic to red blood cells. Normal plasma osmolality in humans is between 285 and 295 milliosmols per kilogram, while 10 percent saline has an osmolality of over 3000 milli-osmols per kilogram.Full Answer >
Microcytic anemia is the condition wherein red blood cells are smaller than normal, and it is primarily caused by iron deficiency anemia and thalassemia, according to Dr. Siamak T. Nabili writing for eMedicineHealth. Iron deficiency anemia occurs due to limited or inadequate iron intake.Full Answer >
Red blood cells carry oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in the body and take away carbon dioxide. They are also called erythrocytes. They get their red color from a pigment called hemoglobin, and it is the hemoglobin that actually carries the oxygen and carbon dioxide.Full Answer >
Cellular reproduction requires a nucleus and a mitochondria in order to perform mitosis, the process of cell division. Mature red blood cells do not contain a nucleus or mitochondria, making mitosis impossible.Full Answer >