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.Know More
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 in Conditions & Diseases
When red blood cells are placed in distilled water, which is hypotonic compared to the solution contained within the cells' membranes, the distilled water will diffuse into the red blood cells and cause them to burst. Placing red blood cells in any solution which contains a lesser degree of solute than that of the solution within the cells will cause water to diffuse into them. Because distilled water contains a zero concentration of solute, it will predictably diffuse into a red blood cell in an attempt to equalize the osmotic pressure on both sides of the cell membrane.Full Answer >
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 >
A person with more white blood cells than red blood cells may be suffering from a condition referred to as pediatric blood cell disorder. In this condition, the bone marrow produces many or less white blood cells. When the while blood cell count range is above the normal, the condition is referred to as leukocytosis, as stated by Mayo Clinic.Full Answer >
It is normal for there to be a very small number of red blood cells in urine, according to MedlinePlus. However, the exact amount that counts as normal may differ, depending on the laboratory that performs the test.Full Answer >