Megaloblastic Anemia

Megaloblastic anemia is characterized by the appearance of large cells in the bone marrow and blood due to defective maturation of hematopoietic cells. Folic acid or vitamin B12 deficiency will result in this type of anemia. Malabsorption, impaired use, chronic infections, and drugs can lead to folic acid or vitamin B12 deficiency.

Folic acid or folate salts (Folvite) are administered to correct folate-deficient megaloblastic anemia. Vitamin B12-deficient patients receive cyanocobalamin supplements. Dosage is very important, since patients with severe megaloblastic anemia may develop hypokalemia and die suddenly if treated intensively with vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency due to a lack of gastric intrinsic factor results in pernicious anemia. This type of mega-loblastic anemia causes neurological damage if it is not treated.Treatment of Vitamin B12-deficient megaloblastic anemia with folic acid may improve the symptoms; however, neurological damage may still occur if vitamin B12 intake is not supplemented. Parenteral injections of vitamin B12 must be given.

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