Megaloblastic Anemia

There are many different types of anemia, all of which are blood disorders. Megaloblastic anemia involves very large red blood cells and the inner parts of the RBCs that are not properly developed. These malformed RBCs cause the bone marrow to produce fewer cells than normal, and it can also cause RBCs to die prematurely before the normal 120 day life expectancy.

Another thing that is different about the RBCs of those with megaloblastic anemia is that instead of being disc-shaped, the red blood cells of the person with megaloblastic anemia are oval.

What causes the RBCs to be created so different from a normal RBC?

A folate deficiency, or a vitamin B-12 deficiency, an inability to make intrinsic factor, or an autoimmune condition is all causes for the anemia that is megaloblastic anemia.

Another type of megaloblastic anemia is the kind that is associated with type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, or a family history of someone having had the disease.

Megaloblastic Anemia Symptoms

Individuals with megaloblastic anemia have complained about weakness in the muscles, numbness or a tingling in either the hands or the feet, difficulty walking, a decrease in the appetite, weight loss, lack of energy or extreme fatigue, diarrhea, and increased heart rate.

Only a medical doctor can diagnose megaloblastic anemia. The disorder is sometimes discovered during a routine medical examination and sometimes the patient presents with symptoms.

The symptoms described can belong to more than one disease or disorder so it is the job of the doctor to be able to take the medical history and test results to determine the diagnosis. The doctor uses the complete physical examination, a complete medical history and diagnostic testing such as blood tests, which may include the Schilling test.

Treatments

There are different treatments, your doctor will design the best treatment plan for you based on your age, health status, and symptoms and medical history. The treatment will also depend upon your overall tolerance for medications, therapies and procedures.

Common treatments for megalobastic anemia include taking B12 injections, gaving folic acid, drinking orange juice or eating oranges, eating romaine lettuce, spinach, liver, rice, barley, sprouts, wheat germ, or other vegetables.

Foods that one can eat that are rich in folic acid and vitamin B12 are eggs, fortified cereals, milk, poultry, meat, fortified cereals, and shellfish.

It is important to have a talk with your doctor about lifestyle changes, dietary changes and how to give your body what it needs when it is dealing with a blood disorder like megaloblastic anemia.

Understanding what the disorder is all about is just the first step. Education is important, but equally important is what comes next after you understand what causes the disorder, and how different factors affect it. Now, it is time to take action learning how to live with a blood disorder.