Megaloblastic anemia causes, like any anemic process, a decrease in red blood cells. The main cause, in most cases, a deficiency of vitamin B12 and / or folic acid, vitamin essential for the maturation of the cells should be. It is important to prevent the risk factors and diagnose it correctly for proper treatment.
Megaloblastic Anemia: What It Is
Megaloblastic anemia, as any type of anemia, is a syndromic process that stems from a defect in maturation of red blood cells, so the immediate consequence is a diminished survival or accelerated destruction of data. It is so named because, morphologically, when we observe red blood cells by light microscopy, they have a large size.
Causes or origins of megaloblastic anemia
The most common cause of megaloblastic anemia, which occurs in 90% of cases, is the deficiency of vitamin B12 and / or folic acid. These two vitamins are necessary for the correct differentiation and maturation of young red blood cells. It has a prevalence of about 1 / 10,000 inhabitants and years, with a prevalence of 10% of the population. A peculiar case of deficiency of vitamin B12 absorption fasting produces this type of anemia known as pernicious anemia.
Other less common causes It can be caused are:- Alcoholism- Certain inherited disorders- Drugs that affect cellular DNA, such as chemotherapy- Other hematologic diseases intrinsic
Megaloblastic Anemia: Signs and symptoms
Like any anemic syndrome, the main symptom is fatigue resulting. Other patients complain of headache, blurred vision, diarrhea or constipation, loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating or difficulty breathing, among others.
The cardinal sign remains pale skin, although some patients may gain some yellow or jaundiced. The language usually acquires geographical aspect atrophy of the taste buds, which is called coated tongue.
In the most extreme cases of this anemia are described by neurologic signs cognitive impairment. This is described in extreme deficits of vitamin B12, folic acid not, since this vitamin is also involved in the maturation of cells of the nervous system and the formation of their myelin sheaths. Among these symptoms we find depression, loss of balance, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, confusion and even processes that can lead to dementia.
Can I prevent megaloblastic anemia?
Experts Hematology recommend:- Foods containing vitamin B12, such as beef, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy products- Avoid taking antacids for a continuous prolonged period over 3 months- Prevent chronic alcoholism, among others.
Diagnosis of megaloblastic anemia and underlying disease
As with any type of anemia, the doctor should perform a thorough medical history of the patient to try to objectify possible causes or fault of eating foods rich in vitamin B12 (such as strict vegetarian diet) or difficulty in absorbing vitamin, such as certain types of inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis) or chronic gastritis, among other pathologies.
Depending on the data collected from the patient's history and a structured physical examination, relevant laboratory tests, or image-liaison with other relevant specialists in order to get to the source of the disease will arise.
Treatment and prognosis of megaloblastic anemia
Treatment of megaloblastic anemia passes through vitamin supplementation in those qualifying cases, or addressing the underlying disease if the cause is diagnosed clinical entity. Everything will depend on the outcome of complementary tests.
The prognosis is generally very good, provided it is diagnosed early and the possible underlying cause inquire. It is therefore vital that the patient consult your doctor for any signs or symptoms consistent with an anemic process.