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Enlarged Red Blood Cells
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I was diagnosed with celiac disease in May 2007 and have been feeling much better thanks to the gluten free diet. However, after having blood drawn for a routine physical, my primary care physcian noted that my red blood cells are quite enlarged, and are actually 2 to 3 times the size that a red blood cell should normally be. He sent me to a Hemotologist who did more testing and came up with the same results of enlarged red blood cells. The Hemotologist did extensive testing and could find no reason for the cells to be so enlarged, and finally dismissed the matter, saying it must be normal for me. I don't seem to have any symptoms, except that if I get a cut or have blood drawn, I bleed excesively. Has anyone else had this or heard of this and could it be related to celiac disease?

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I was diagnosed with celiac disease in May 2007 and have been feeling much better thanks to the gluten free diet. However, after having blood drawn for a routine physical, my primary care physcian noted that my red blood cells are quite enlarged, and are actually 2 to 3 times the size that a red blood cell should normally be. He sent me to a Hemotologist who did more testing and came up with the same results of enlarged red blood cells. The Hemotologist did extensive testing and could find no reason for the cells to be so enlarged, and finally dismissed the matter, saying it must be normal for me. I don't seem to have any symptoms, except that if I get a cut or have blood drawn, I bleed excesively. Has anyone else had this or heard of this and could it be related to celiac disease?

Have you had your nutrient levels tested? My mean cell volume was too high for a long time until I supplemented my very low levels of D, B12, and folate, particularly, but also took a Mega B supplement and a multi-mineral. They are back to normal now.

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Smoking and drinking can also effect the blood cells.

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Have B12 and Folate been checked ?

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I have the same problem with my red blood cells being too large. I always have a low RBC count result when I get my blood checked. So, I'm interested to know the reason for this, too. I have anemia, too - not sure if there's a connection there. B12 is low, so I take a sublingual B12 along with Floravit iron. Vitamin D level is deficient (taking D3 supps). My folate is good. I don't smoke or drink.

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Just off the top of my head....

Enlarged red blood cells is a trait of Pernicious Anemia.

Pernicious Anemia has a correlation to Celiac disease.

In this disorder the gut lining lacks intrinsic factor for absorbtion of vitamin B12.

It is not the easiest thing to get diagnosed.

I am concerned that the doctors you have seen are willing to dismiss this symptom and not finding any answer for you. As the with Pernicious Anemia this can have very serious health complications.

Please don't take this as any type of diagnoses, just as a possible scenario, and why you need to find a doctor willing to diagnose and treat you.

Good luck!

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This is something I would like to know the answer to also so please keep us informed if you go for second opinion. (Same blood work always say related to lupus now that been dignoses with celiac probably say due to celiac but they never do anything more)

Good Luck <_<

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Do you know what your RBC indices (MCV, MCH, MCHC) and hemoglobin and hematocrit are? What about your RBC morphology? Do you have ovalocytes or elliptocytes? Enlarged RBCs can have many causes. For example, it could be related to pernicious anemia, megaloblastic anemia or your liver could be depositing lipids onto your RBCs. Make sure they do plenty of testing, but it could be megaloblastic anemia of unknown cause. If they cannot find a cause I would continue to get regular CBCs.

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    • Hi Aly and welcome You may want to repost this in a new thread, that way more people will see it and can advise you.  I think you would be much better off getting the celiac test now, if you stay off gluten you will need to go back on it and that can be much harder. That said, loads of your symptoms look like they could be gluten related.  I had a persistent 'trapped nerve' for instance under my eye which would twitch like crazy. Since I went gluten-free doesn't happen any more.  Best of luck! Matt
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    • Just found this site today. Did you ever find one? I was diagnosed this year and I live on Oahu.
    • I was diagnosed this year and I live on Oahu. I have yet to meet another celiac, so that tells you something about our limitations here. I work in Waikiki and do frequent Rouffage. It is nothing fancy, small place, but keeps me fed when I need something. I also like Greens and Vines. It is a vegan restaurant and worth every penny. Greens and vines sets up at the KCC farmers market on Saturdays too. Places in Waikiki that do offer a gluten-free menu include, PF Changs, Dennys, Big City Diner and California Pizza kitchen. I do not trust those places due to the risk, but they "offer" gluten-free options. I did try and order a beer at Yard House in Waikiki. They label clearly states that it contained wheat, so yeah sent that back with the waiter. I have also tied Doraku in Waikiki. I called ahead and spoke with management. That went well and they offer gluten free soy sauce. There is a deli at Down to Earth Grocery store in Honolulu that has gluten-free options, but the whole foods here do not offer hot food that is gluten free. They do have a hot food bar, but you have to stick to the whole plain salad and veggie options. It's good to hear the hotels here are getting better, beyond Waikiki hotels there is no one really interested in being gluten free.
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