Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Megaloblastic Anemia Overview

What is megaloblastic anemia?
A person with megaloblastic anemia has a reduced number of red blood cells in the bloodstream, usually due to a lack of folate or vitamin B12. Without folate or vitamin B12, the red blood cells do not mature, and do not function normally. This results in anemia: an abnormally low number of red blood cells in the bloodstream.

What are the symptoms of megaloblastic anemia?
Early symptoms of megaloblastic anemia include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, headaches, and faintness upon standing. Late symptoms include palpitations, rapid pulse, fainting, and worsening shortness of breath with exertion.

How does the doctor treat megaloblastic anemia?
Treatment of megaloblastic anemia may include vitamin supplements and iron supplements.

Continue to Megaloblastic Anemia Incidence

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Megaloblastic Anemia References
  1. Arinzon Z, Fidelman Z, Peisakh A, Adunsky A. Folate status and folate related anemia: a comparative cross-sectional study of long-term care and post-acute care psychogeriatric patients. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2004 Sep-Oct;39(2):133-42. [15249150]
  2. Bain BJ. Diagnosis from the blood smear. N Engl J Med. 2005 Aug 4;353(5):498-507. [16079373]
  3. Bain BJ. Pathogenesis and pathophysiology of anemia in HIV infection. Curr Opin Hematol. 1999 Mar;6(2):89-93. [10088638]
  4. Wickramasinghe SN. The wide spectrum and unresolved issues of megaloblastic anemia. Semin Hematol. 1999 Jan;36(1):3-18. [9930565]
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