Macrocytic Anemia? All Greek to You?

Quincy AdamAnemia Learn

Macrocytic Anemia? All Greek to You?
The term macrocytic anemia may sound Greek to you and it is – Greek, literally! Macrocytic means “large cell” and anemia is a Greek word for “without blood”.1,2

Macrocytic anemia happens when your body produces too few normal red blood cells and the red blood cells that are produced are larger than their normal volume.3

Different Types

There are different types of macrocytic anemia, each with different causes. Very often it is caused by not having enough of the vitamins B9 (folate) and B12. Sometimes it can be caused by certain medications. Or it is caused by an underlying condition such as alcoholism, liver disease or a very underfunctioning thyroid.4

Learn more about macrocytic anemia: www.healthline.com

9 Most Common Symptoms

You may not notice any of these symptoms until you have had macrocytic anemia for a long time. If you have an increased heart rate, confusion or memory loss, you should call your doctor! 5

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Brittle nails
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin, lips and eyelids
  • Shortness of breath
  • Poor concentration, confusion and memory loss5

Learn more about Macrocytic anemia: www.mayoclinic.org and www.healthline.com

Treating the Cause

Blood tests can identify anemia and enlarged red blood cells, as well help determine an underlying cause such as missing nutrients, alcoholism, liver disease and under functioning thyroid.6  Your regular doctor may also send you to see a specialist called a hematologist to diagnose the cause and specific type of anemia.

Treatment may focus on the underlying cause, such as supplementing the missing nutrients with folate or B vitamin supplements, Vitamin B12 injections, or creating a diet plan for you with foods like spinach, fish and red meat that are high in the missing nutrients your body needs. If the result of an underlying condition, your regular doctor or a specialist will monitor the underlying cause and suggest a treatment plan. 7

Foods High in Folates and Vitamin B12

  • Fortified grains and cereals
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Red meat
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish
  • Beans and dark leafy vegetables8

This type of anemia needs treatment or it can result in permanent damage to your nervous system.  Extreme Vitamin B12 deficiencies may cause long-term problems such as dementia and weakness, tingling, numbness, and pain from nerve damage in the hands and feet.8

Call your doctor and get checked if you think you have any of the symptoms! You can get back to feeling like your energetic self.

Learn more about the risk factors and treatment of macrocytic anemia: www.healthline.com  www.mayoclinic.org


  1. Definition of Macrocytic Anemia. http://www.definitions.net/definition/macrocytic%20anemia [accessed on April 26, 2017]
  2. Definition of Anemia. http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Anemia [accessed on April 26, 2017]
  3. Macrocytic Anemia. http://www.healthline.com/health/macrocytic-anemia#overview1 [accessed on April 26, 2017]
  4. Megaloblastic Anemia. http://www.healthhype.com/tag/megaloblastic-anemia [accessed on April 26, 2017]
  5. Macrocytic Anemia. https://patient.info/doctor/macrocytosis-and-macrocytic-anaemia [accessed on April 26, 2017]
  6. Aslinia F, Mazza JJ, Yale SH. “Megaloblastic Anemia and Other Causes of Macrocytosis.” Clin Med Res. 2006 Sep; 4(3): 236-241. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1570488/ [accessed April 26, 2017]
  7. American Family Physician Online. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0201/p203.html. [accessed April 26, 2017]
  8. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheets. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/and https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/ [accessed on April 26, 2017]