Degenerative Diseases Community
1.11k Members
Avatar universal

Enlarged Red Blood Cells

I'm a 51 year old female in very good health however my red blood cells have been termed "enlarged" by my doctor since 1999.  My Doctor is concerned that this is due to alcoholism, although I am not an alcoholic and drink no more than 2 glasses of red wine at dinner.  My Doctor has instructed me not to drink any alcohol for 90 days and return for another blood test.  I know that I am not an alcoholic, what else could be causing this?  And should I be concerned since it has shown up in my blood tests (with the same Doctor) since 1999?  Thank you.
10 Responses
Avatar universal
I have had the same thing and my Dr.'s tell me not to worry about it.  Now that I have had some other blood tests come back abnormal lately they are starting to look at it, but before the other tests came back abnormal they were not concerned about it.  If you are feeling well then I would not be too concerned with it or seek a second opinion.
Avatar universal
I have the same problem and was told not to worry about it also. My blood work kept coming up strange and finally one doctor sent me to an Oncologist and he did a bone marrow biopsy and found out that what I had was Polyecthemia Vera. I have to take a drug on a daily basis to keep the red blood cells in check and also have frequent phlebotmies(like giving blood at a donor center) I was told that this diseases can mimick many other and the only way to know for sure is through the biopsy. You can have symptoms such as headaches, aches and your legs may hurt. Your spleen may also enlarge, you may want to push your MD to send you to a Hemotologists for futher studies.
If you smoke quit because that increases the size of the red bloos cells.
Good Luck
Avatar universal
I have abnormally enlarged red blood cells as well.  Normal size 100 mine are 106.  I have tried (with my dr) folic acid. didn't do anything for the size but certainly made my hair grow very fast so I was processing the F A correctly.
The reason I became concerned was I had just turned  53 when I noticed a huge decrease in energy after a move.  Thought I was tired but it didn't go away and still hasn't.  I will be 57 in May.  I work for Oncology Drs and will ask tomm about the Polyecthemia Vera to see if it was possible I have this ailment as well.
Thank you so very much for sharing...
ps. I haven't had any alcohol since 1993 and quit smoking 32 months ago and tell you how very grateful those two toxins are out and never will be allowed back into my body.
Avatar universal
I am a 46 year old female who has been told many times after bloodwork that I have enlarged red blood cells.  My doctor told me what causes this and the funny thing is that I don't drink AT ALL - NEVER and I have never smoked a day in my life.  I am not a big meat eater so it can't be the red meat either so I have no clue what causes this.  I also started to take folic acid supplements but my test results remain the same.  Should I ask to see a hemotologist?  How serious is this condition?  
Avatar universal
Hi.   Did you ever find out why your red blood cells are enlarged?
Avatar universal
I just came from my Dr, I am 52 yrs old and he has ruled out Liver disease, lack of folic acid or B-12. In conclusion he believes its alcohol. I am a social drinker, I drink when friends are across and weekends only , not every weekend either. I also limit myself to a few whenever I drink, this may average 3 -  4 shots of vodka.. My recent blood work has ruled out the other factors according to my Dr. What should be my next move.
Avatar universal
I am aware of my problem with sleep. I have a Neuromuscular Skeletal disease. I was diagnose at 13years old. I will be 46 next month. The reason why I put myself asleep is because of the pain. I had gastric bypass surgery 6 years this mo. I lost 130 lbs within a year. Test after test can find out why everything hurts my stomach,but I have gained all the weight back. When I weighed 123 lb I got so much negative, unwanted feed back. You don't look good you are to thin. The thing I tried to explain. I was not looking for what I looked like. It was not for vanity it was for quality. Sorry off the subject at hand I have had numerous doctors tell me my red blood cell are to large. Honestly,they are quick with the alcohol Theory. Not so much to find the real reason.  
Avatar universal
My blood cells are also enlarged at 105, and my doctor said to me the alcohol was the cause. I only drink a couple apple ciders maybe two or three nights apart. Not Constantly.... He also was too quick to rule on the alochol as the cause. I don't see how, when I didn't have any for four days before the blood test. He mentioned to me to if I want to have a referral for an Hematologist. I sais yes but first I want to go abstinent for a month and see what the results are after another blood analysis. I feel healthy, as far as my circulatory system. My heart and liver are strong and normal, so I'm really not concerned.
Avatar universal
Same red blood cell enlargement problem.  My doctor told me that she is not worried because my Folic Acid, B-12, and other levels are fine. She never mentioned alcohol (I dont drink, anyway).  She has seen this before, and she thinks that my blood sat around longer than it should have after I had it drawn at the lab, and it allowed the blood cells time to soak themselves up and enlarge!!!  If there were Red Flag Items on my test, she would repeat it, but because everything else was normal (although I am very fatigued...she blames it on stress and not sleeping), she is not concerned at all. Good luck, everybody.
Avatar universal
I know this is an old thread, but I got here so others could too, so I thought I'd relate my experience.
About 4-5 years ago I had a blood test which showed enlarged red blood cells (and I recently found out nucleated red blood cells). The doctor basically talked about alcoholism and kept asking how much I was drinking, but no real investigation was done, just a promise to "keep an eye on it"

I didn't actually have another blood test until a few months ago. This again showed enlarged red blood cells (the size was 102) and nucleated red blood cells. I had a quick google, as you do, and was left with the impression that the nRBCs meant that I had a serious disease of some kind.

The doctor (a different one) again talked about alcohol consumption and checked it again during another consultation. He suggested that I go for a month with no alcohol at all and have another full blood count done 'if this is possible'
I said "of course it is possible" and was sceptical that the results would be any different as I only drink 4-8 units of alcohol per week

Well, I got the results today after 1 month with no alcohol and everything was normal, so it would appear that even really moderate amounts could have an effect on me. I probably now need to convince the doctor that I'm really not an alcoholic though! I'm going to revert to my usual intake and ask for another blood test in 60-90 days just to be sure.
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out if PRP therapy right for you.
Tips for preventing one of the most common types of knee injury.
Tips and moves to ease backaches
How to bounce back fast from an ankle sprain - and stay pain free.
Patellofemoral pain and what to do about it.
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.