What is folic acid deficiency anemia?
deficiency anemia happens when your body does not have enough
folic acid. Folic acid is one of the B vitamins, and
it helps your body make new cells, including new
red blood cells . Your body needs red blood cells to carry oxygen. If you don't have enough red blood cells, you have
anemia, which can make you feel weak and tired. So
it's important that you get enough folic acid every day.
people get enough folic acid in the food they eat. But some people either don't
get enough in their diet or have trouble absorbing it from the foods they eat.
Talk to your doctor about whether you should take a daily vitamin with folic
Pregnant women who do not get enough folic acid are more
likely to have babies with very serious birth defects.
What causes folic acid deficiency anemia?
You can get folic acid
deficiency anemia if:
- You don't eat enough foods that contain folic
acid. These include citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, and fortified
- You have a greater need for folic acid. This might happen
if you are pregnant or have some medical problems, such as sickle cell disease.
- Your body doesn't absorb enough folic acid. This might happen if
you drink too much alcohol or have severe kidney problems that require
- You take certain medicines, such as
some used for cancer,
rheumatoid arthritis, and
What are the symptoms?
Anemia may make you:
- Feel weak and tired.
- Be forgetful.
- Lose your appetite and lose weight.
How is folic acid deficiency anemia diagnosed?
Your doctor will examine you and ask questions
about your past health and how you are feeling now. You will also have blood
tests to check the number of red blood cells and to see if your body has enough
The level of vitamin B12 will be checked too. Some
people whose folic acid levels are too low also have low levels of vitamin B12.
The two problems can cause similar symptoms.