What is Folate deficiency anaemia?
Folate deficiency anaemia is the type of anaemia which is due to deficiency of folate or folic acid.
Folate or Folic acid is one of the types of Vitamin B.
What can cause Folic acid-deficiency anaemia?
Your RBCs (Red Blood Cells) need folate to mature and develop to its true capacity. If you lack folate in your body then your RBCs will fail to mature and their oxygen-carrying capacity will be affected.
What happens if you lack Folate in your body?
As I said RBCs need folate to mature. If you lack folate then RBCs will grow big (remember big is not better here). These big RBCs are called macrocytes or megaloblasts when seen in the bone marrow. Because of this, it is also known as megaloblastic anaemia.
Why your body lacks folate?
Folate is a type of Vitamin B. Vitamin B is water-soluble. Your body can’t store them for later use.
So it is lacking in your diet, if you drink too much alcohol, use certain medicines like phenytoin, methotrexate or barbiturates the chances are you will suffer from folate deficiency anaemia.
Folate and Pregnancy
Your baby needs folic acid to grow properly. Lack of folate in the blood can lead to birth defects in a baby.
Doctors recommend that women should take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day before they get pregnant and through the first 3 months of their pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of Folate-deficiency anaemia?
You will feel tired, weak, suffer from headaches, your skin will become pallor. There may be sores in your mouth or tongue.
Which tests are done?
Your doctor will write you tests like Complete blood count (CBC), folate level or bone marrow examination if needed.
How to treat Folate-deficiency anaemia?
Your doctor will prescribe you folic acid supplements. If you are admitted in hospital then it will be given through IV line. If you had gut surgery then you may need folic acid supplementation for a lifetime.
You can get your required amount of folic acid from green, leafy vegetables and citrus fruits.
Unless there is a serious medical condition associated with your gut, it will improve in a couple of months.
What if you don’t take treatment?
Chances are you will suffer from many complications like early greying of hair, dark pigmentation of skin, infertility, heart failure.