What is macrocytosis?

The term macrocytosis refers to analteration in the diameterof erythrocytes. It is characterized by anincrease inMean Corpuscular Volume (MCV), above 100 fl.(1)

This condition, also known asmegalocitosis, has the characteristic that itdoes not produce signs or symptomsand is usually detected incidentally in routine blood count. (2)

On the other hand, this erythrocyte disorder occurs in patients who generally have apoor diet in terms of micronutrients, but other pathologies can also affect its appearance.

Important: Macrocytosis andmicrocytosisare distinct terms, because although they refer to abnormalities in the diameter ofred blood cells, the latter refers toa smaller size than normal.

What causes macrocytosis?

Below we will describe in summary form, themain causes of macrocytosissupported by scientific studies:(3)

1. Vitamin B12 and B9 deficiency

As mentioned, the deficiency of certain nutrients can affect the synthesis and production of hemoglobin and red blood cells for the Circulatory Systemtag. In fact, some scientific articles describe the close relationship thatfolic acid and vitamin B12 have for the body. (4)

In this case, folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiencyhave been associated with the appearance of macrocytosis. This deficiency is often due topoor nutrition , but it can also be attributed to the presence of another disease called pernicious anemia . (5)

To highlight: Pernicious anemia is a disease that prevents the absorption of vitamin B12 , generating pathologies such as megaloblastic macrocytic anemias.

2. Liver disorders

One of the functions of the liver is the metabolization and storage of vitamin B12tag. The storage of vitamin B12 is important because the body can absorb it in a small amount from food and it is necessary to store the surplusto meet daily needs.

You should know: In this context, the existence of liver disorders can interfere with liver functions related to vitamin B12 , a vitamin necessary for the synthesis of folic acid, another important vitamin in the synthesis of red blood cells, and its deficiency can cause anemia. megaloblastic macrocytic. (6)

3. Alcohol consumption

The excessive consumption of alcoholic substances directly affects the structure of erythrocytes, since it is documented that alcohol damages vital organs in the production of red blood cells, such as the bone marrow or in the metabolization of chemical compounds for their regeneration, such as the liver.

4. Hypothyroidism

Among the causes where macrocytosis can appear is in the patient with hypothyroidism, because the deficiency of thyroid hormone in the body does not favor the absorption of iron through the intestines. (7)

In this sense, some scientific articles have described that people with hypothyroidism have lower serum iron concentrations, compared to people with normal thyroid function, causing some types of anemia with the possible consequence of macrocytosis. (8)

Other studies describe the presence of macrocytosis in patients with hypothyroidism without suffering from states of anemia . (9)

Note: If hypothyroidism is autoimmune in origin, pernicious anemia may occur due to low levels of vitamin B 12.

5. Myelodysplastic syndrome

In this case, myelodysplastic syndrome (10) occurs when some cells in the bone marrow do not produce normal blood cells,due to multiple reasons. This is why the bone marrow is unable to produceenough normal blood cells.

To highlight: Anemia is the most frequent manifestation of myelodysplastic syndrome, generally associated with hypochromia , macrocytosis and Anisocytosis .

How is macrocytosis treated?

The treatment of macrocytosis will depend on the underlying pathology that causes it, however we present the most commonly used therapies:

1. Foods rich in vitamin B12 and folate

If the diagnosis shows that the macrocytosis is due to cobalamin and folic acid deficiency, it is recommended to increase the consumption of foods rich in folic acid and vitamin B12.

such as meat (beef, fish or chicken), eggs and dairy products with their derivatives.

2. Food supplements

In those situations, in which Food consumption does not immediately provide the necessary requirements to treat the underlying causes of macrocytosis, the use of Concentrated supplements is recommended to correct it peremptorily.

3. Blood transfusions

In situations where macrocytosis seriously affects the patient’s quality of life , hemotherapy is recommended to immediately replace the lack of healthy blood cells and temporarily correct the causes of macrocytosis.

Important: In any of the above strategies, it is appropriate to provide the patient with all the information about their health condition , in order to avoid abandoning treatment.

Key Conclusions

  • Macrocytosis is a red blood cell disorder that is reflected in the increase in the diameter of these cells.
  • Macrocytosis occurs due to increased mean corpuscular volume in erythrocytes.
  • Generally, this disorder occurs due to a deficiency of folic acid, vitamin B12 or iron in the body.
  • Macrocytosis can also appear without the need for the patient to be anemic.

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