Megaloblastic anemia (patient information)

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Megaloblastic anemia (patient information)
ICD-10 D51.1, D52.0, D53.1
ICD-9 281
DiseasesDB 29507
MedlinePlus 000567
MeSH D000749

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Amandeep Singh M.D.[2], Omer Kamal, M.D.[3], Lakshmi Gopalakrishnan


Megaloblastic anemia is a blood disorder in which there is anemia with larger-than-normal red blood cells.

Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.

What are the symptoms of Megaloblastic anemia?

  • People with mild anemia may have no symptoms, or symptoms may be very mild.
  • More typical symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia include:

What causes Megaloblastic anemia?

  • Megaloblastic anemia is usually caused by a deficiency of folic acid or vitamin B12.
  • Other less common causes are:

Who is at highest risk?

Risk factors relate to the causes.

When to seek urgent medical care?

Call your health care provider if you have any of the symptoms of anemia.


  • A physical exam may show problems with reflexes or a positive Babinski reflex.
  • The following tests may be done:
  • Bone marrow biopsy is done only when the diagnosis is not clear.

Treatment options

Treatment depends on the cause of B12 and folate deficiencies.

Where to find medical care for Megaloblastic anemia?

Directions to Hospitals Treating Megaloblastic anemia

What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

Anemia usually responds well to treatment within 2 months.


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