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Causes and Ways to Overcome Megaloblastic Anemia

Megaloblastic anemia is the lack of red blood cells in the body due to the bone marrow producing immature red blood cells with abnormal structures and too large size. This condition is one type of anemia that is rare.

When red blood cells have an abnormal structure, the spread of oxygen throughout the body will be disrupted. Symptoms of anemia can be identified by complaints of feeling tired, pale, dizzy, muscle aches, and shortness of breath.

Causes of Megaloblastic Anemia

Nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin B12 and folate are the main causes of megaloblastic anemia but these can be triggered by other conditions, such as:

Lack of vitamin B12 intake

The amount of B12 intake of less than 5-7 µg / day can be caused by not including red meat, fish, eggs, and milk in the diet, as in a vegetarian diet.




Lack of folate intake

Levels less than 0.4 mg/day due to not including red meat and green vegetables, fruits, and various animal-processed products. Folate intake can also be reduced if you cook green vegetables using too much water and too high a temperature to damage the folate content.

Malabsorption of vitamin B12

Although easily absorbed and fulfilled, vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by reduced protein in the stomach which helps, absorption of vitamin B12. Besides that, there are autoimmune conditions, bacterial infections, and parasitic worms that will reduce the levels of absorbed vitamin B12. More specifically megaloblastic anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency is known as pernicious anemia.

Malabsorption of folate

Some conditions for excessive alcohol consumption and pregnancy cause the body to absorb less folate than usual.

Other medical conditions

Other causes of megaloblastic anemia, including:

  • Leukemia
  • HIV infection
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome
  • Myelofibrosis
  • Use of epilepsy anti-seizure drugs, Dilantin
  • Use of chemotherapy drugs

Cobalamin deficiency

Cobalamin or vitamin B12 are nutrients found in many meat, fish, eggs, and milk. A poor diet can be a cause of this vitamin deficiency, so it is more at risk for megaloblastic anemia.

Some drugs can also reduce the amount of cobalamin in the body. One of them is proton pump inhibitors which are used to limit the production of stomach acid.

Lack of folic acid intake

Folic acid (vitamin B9) is contained in several foods, including beef liver, citrus fruits (oranges and lemons), and green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli. A diet that is low in folate can cause you to be more at risk of developing megaloblastic anemia.

In addition, a lack of folic acid may also occur when the body needs more folate. These conditions include pregnancy, breastfeeding, cancer or sickle cell anemia, undergo dialysis until the baby is born prematurely.

Lack of cobalamin and folic acid can also occur when the process of absorption of vitamins is disrupted. For example due to autoimmune conditions and celiac disease, a history of intestinal surgery, or the presence of intestinal diseases, such as Crohn's disease and gastrointestinal infections. Without proper treatment, these conditions can develop into megaloblastic anemia.

How to Overcome Megaloblastic Anemia

To diagnose megaloblastic anemia and determine the cause, the doctor will do a complete blood examination. After that, the doctor will provide the treatment needed, according to the cause.

In general, doctors will provide treatment to overcome deficiencies of vitamin B12 or folic acid. Treatment can be in the form of multivitamin supplements, either through oral medications or injections. In addition, sufferers are also encouraged to increase their intake of vitamin B12 and folic acid.

To monitor the success of treatment, blood tests will be carried out again 10-14 days after the treatment begins. If the treatment is successful, people with megaloblastic anemia do not need further monitoring, unless the symptoms reappear.

Megaloblastic anemia should not be underestimated and treated immediately. If you experience symptoms of megaloblastic anemia as mentioned above, immediately consult a doctor to get the right treatment.





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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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