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What is macrocytosis?

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Quick Answer

Macrocytosis is a blood condition in which red blood cells are larger than normal, states Healthgrades. Liver disease, alcoholism, folate deficiency, vitamin B-12 deficiency and hypothyroidism are some of the key causes of macrocytosis, notes Mayo Clinic.

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General symptoms of macrocytosis include dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor and poor concentration, according to Healthgrades. Macrocytosis can also result in neurological symptoms, such as numbness of legs and arms, depression, confusion and dementia in its severe stages. It is advisable that any neurological symptoms of macrocytosis be treated promptly since they may become permanent within six months of their appearance.

During the diagnosis of macrocytosis, the doctor may perform tests to determine the patient’s reticulocyte count and B12 serum levels, explains the American Academy of Family Physicians. The doctor may also order a reticulocyte index from the laboratory to determine if there is enough bone marrow response. Other tests that may be conducted during the diagnosis include tests to identify kidney and liver diseases and thyroid disorders.

For cases in which macrocytosis is caused by a deficiency of vitamin B12 or other related conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, vitamin B12 injections may be given, states Healthgrades. Mild cases of macrocytosis can be treated with oral supplements along with a balanced diet.

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