large red blood cells?

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My son is 19, he's 6 feet tall and was obese. He's lost 8 and half stone over last two year and looks great! He has occasionally felt dizzy when standing up quick and fainted just once about one year ago. Recently he was at doctors for something else and doctor asked for bloods. Next day they rang and asked him if he had a lot of alcohol the night before, he was at home with us and had about 2 or 3 cans of lager with his dad but that was it. They asked him to go for another test as his B12 and folic acid was low. He went and had test done again, this time doctor said he just had larger than normal red blood cells and rest was fine not to worry. Well my son isn't but everyone knows mums like to worry, and I am worried that there is something underlining. I know he's not a heavy drinker and he lives at home. Anyone had anything similar?

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  • Posted

    How high was B12 for your son?

    My serum B12 looks rather normal if a bit low (still in normal range). Folic acid as well btw. But my red blood cells were enlarged. Taking B12 pills did nothing for me. I started feeling so much better once I took B12 shots and the red blood cells are slowly getting back to a normal size (94 now). Oh yea, still I suspected B12 to be the culprit because I'm having a rather annoying nerve problem (tingling, limbs falling asleep). This finally is getting better as well now.

    With regards to the dizzyness: Yes, I have that as well. I also lost a lot of weight but I had the same dizzyness many years ago when my weight was similar. I suppose it's low blood pressure. It particularly happens when I'm curling up on the couch with my legs below me. It helps to first get the legs on the ground. Wait for a moment. Then get up. (I only need to think about it).

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  • Posted

    Hi Nicola, sorry to hear about your son's problem. Blood cells can become enlarged with B12 deficiency, this makes it more difficult for them to carry oxygen to and from the lungs, heart etc.. Because they are larger, they don't pass as easily to where they're needed. It might explain your son's dizziness and fainting. Can you find out from the doctor what his levels of B12 and folate were? My B12 was 176 when they began treatment, but I don't feel well unless it's over 600. Often the doctors consider 200 to be the cut-off point, and won't treat unless you are below this figure. Have a look at The Pernicious Anaemia Society website, there is a symptoms list on there. If he feels he has many of these symptoms, he can go back to the doctor and ask for more help. Don't be worried about the name of the site, they deal with all forms of B12 deficiency. Good luck with getting things sorted. Marion
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  • Posted

    Vitamin b12 is absorbed in the intestines from meat and dairy. Low b12 can be caused by pernicious anaemia, absorption problems caused by crohns, celiac, IBS etc. it can caused by medications such as metaformin. A level of 200 is deficient in the uk. When b12 and folate is low the blood cells become enlarged and misshapen. Anyone who is low in b12 and eats a meat and dairy diet should be given injections of b12 as tablet form will not work as they absorb in the same way as meat and dairy.

    B12 uses folate to metabolise out the blood into the body's cells. Low folate can cause b12 to build up in the blood in an inactive form causing false b12 test results. Once b12 has metabolised to the cells the body will use ferritin (iron stores) to create new blood cells.

    Low b12 can cause debilitating neurological symptoms. Demand your son gets immediate b12 injections as delay in treatment can cause irreversible nerve damage. Look up the BCSH cobalamin guidelines. See page 29 for treatment guide.

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  • Posted

    As he's 19 I don't get to go with him anymorewink but he said the doctor said his b12 and folic acid was normal the 2nd time they took his blood, so really sure whats going on.
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    • Posted

      Nicola, unfortunately the Drs will often say results are normal when they are not. Ask your son to get a print out of his results. (I know teenage boys may be difficult to get to do things- I have two) and then post results on the PA forum which others have signposted you to- you will get very helpful and knowledgeable info from them.
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  • Posted

    Son won't ask doctor about blood results so don't know what I can do but just wait and see. He's been living aboard for 6months and when he returned he found he had itchy rash. It turned out to be a parasite infection! I was so shocked, I'm so house proud but the place he was live in was dirty and one of the people he was living in with had it. So that why he was at doctors in first place. Don't know if there is any connection between the infection and his blood but he's a adult and I don't think the doctor will give me any information so just have to wait and be here for him if he needs me.
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  • Posted

    My husband and I were both told my the dr yesterday we had enlarged red blood cells again on the follow up labs.  We also had a lot of tests done at the same time.  Our folic acid was high, our B12 was high, neither of us drink and all the other tests came out fine.  Our doctor is stumped.  I take a lot of different vitamins and have now stopped all of that to see what the labs will be in 6 months.  No one seems to be able to figure this out so if I find anything out, I will be posting it on this site.  My husband's red blood cells have actually gotten larger and that makes it even more disturbing.  

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    • Posted

      Taking b supplements can cause falsely high b12 serum results. Ask for mma and homocysteine tests which will confirm functional b12 deficiency if results are high.
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    • Posted

      My husband went back and had the Homocysteine test done and the results came out to 20.6 which was high as the reference range is 0.0 - 15.0.  The doctor didn't seem to think there was a problem, "test results slightly outside the reference range are not unusul".

      We still do not know what could be causing this, especially since we both have it.  I would think if his red blood cells keep growing they would burst.  ??  Back to go.

       

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