Megaloblastic Anemia Causes and Treatment
Megaloblastic anemia is an anemic condition which is caused by a deficiency in folic acid, vitamin B12 or a combination of the two. When the human body is lacking these substances the bone marrow is unable to produce healthy or normal red blood cells and produces red blood cells which are immature and larger than normal cells.
These cells also tend to die earlier than the one hundred and twenty days which healthy red blood cells normally live. This results the condition of anemia due to an insufficient amount of red cells in the body which are needed to distribute oxygen throughout our body.
Potential Causes of Megaloblastic Anemia
Megaloblastic anemia can be caused by numerous conditions that result in the folic acid or vitamin B12 deficiency in the body. Alcoholism can be one of those conditions as alcohol interferes with the foliate metabolism in the liver which can deplete the body of folic acid. The most common cause of megaloblastic anemia in children is a vitamin deficiency.
Other common causes of this anemia are due to digestive problems which prevent the body from absorbing a sufficient amount these vitamins as well as certain medications which interfere with the absorption of folic acid. A folic acid deficiency is also common during pregnancy which can cause the mother to become anemic as well as the newborn baby. In some cases this condition during pregnancy may result in a birth defect which is called spina bifida.
Treatment of Megaloblastic Anemia
Treatment typically consists of taking supplements of folic acid or the B12 vitamin as well as treating any underlying digestive problems which may be causing the deficiency. These supplements are taken until the vitamins reach a sufficient level in the body which is typically within three months time.
There are many foods which contain folic acid as well such as oranges, liver, rice, green leafy vegetables, and wheat germ. Foods which contain vitamin B12 include poultry, dairy products, fortified cereals, and shellfish.