Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia: Causes
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Folic acid is one of the B vitamins. It helps produce red blood cells. Low levels of folic acid (also called folate) in the body decrease production of red blood cells and cause folic acid deficiency anemia .
Causes of folic acid deficiency anemia include:
- Not eating enough foods that contain folic acid.
- Unhealthy diets may not have much folic acid.
- People who have the eating disorder anorexia nervosa severely limit how much they eat, including those foods that contain folic acid.
- Having an increased need for folic acid. This might
- Pregnancy. Pregnant women need more folic acid to protect their babies from birth defects, such as neural tube defects .
- Blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia , that use up the body's supply of folic acid.
- Diseases that cause rapid cell growth, such as leukemia or psoriasis .
- An increased rate of metabolism , as might happen with an overactive thyroid ( hyperthyroidism ). This uses up the body's store of folic acid faster than it is absorbed.
- Not absorbing or retaining folic acid. This can be caused by:
- Drinking too much alcohol.
- Having hemodialysis .
- Having an intestinal problem such as celiac disease.
- Taking certain medicines, including medicine used to treat cancer.
Other Works Consulted
- Andres E (2015). Pernicious anemia and other megaloblastic anemias. In ET Bope et al., eds., Conn's Current Therapy 2015, pp. 878–881. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Joseph O'Donnell, MD - Hematology, Oncology
Current as ofJuly 6, 2015
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