What are the symptoms of macrocytosis?

Mild macrocytosis produces no symptoms. Symptoms of moderate macrocytosis include fatigue and weakness, problems with digestion, and neurological symptoms. Neurological symptoms, such as confusion, depression, or numbness, may indicate nerve damage from persistent macrocytosis, which should be treated as quickly as possible to prevent further damage.

Common symptoms of macrocytosis

You may experience macrocytosis symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times, any of these symptoms can be severe:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin or pallor
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen tongue

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

Left untreated, macrocytosis can lead to neurological complications that may become permanent. Seek prompt medical care if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms including:

  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness or tingling of arms or legs

What is macrocytosis?

Macrocytosis, or megaloblastic anemia, is a blood condition characterized by insufficient and unusually large red blood cells. The lack of viable red blood cells leads to oxygen deficiency throughout the body. Over time, this lack of oxygen can cause symptoms related to many organ systems.

Symptoms of macrocytosis can range from very mild to severe. General symptoms of macrocytosi... Read more about macrocytosisintroduction


What causes macrocytosis?

Usually, macrocytosis is caused by nutritional deficiency, specifically of folate or vitamin B12. This can arise from a hereditary condition called pernicious anemia, in which a protein called intrinsic factor is lacking in your gut. Intrinsic factor helps your body absorb vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential for replenishing folate, which is required by your body to make red blood cells.
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How is macrocytosis treated?

For mild cases of macrocytosis, no treatment may be required. The treatment of macrocytosis depends on its cause. For cases directly linked to vitamin B12 deficiency, injections of the vitamin can be given. For mild cases, oral supplements may be prescribed, along with a balanced diet. For cases in which macr... Read more about macrocytosistreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Heart, Blood and Circulation