You may have heard about problems with reduced levels of folic acid during pregnancy, so what are the symptoms of folic acid deficiency? Someone who does not have enough folic acid, or folate, in the body could experience a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, weakness, and early formation of gray hair.
Should the lack of folic acid in the bloodstream continue to progress untreated, the ill person could begin to develop signs of anemia, which is a reduced number of red blood cells in the bloodstream.
Folic acid deficiency is a particularly worrisome problem for women who are pregnant. Should the pregnant woman not receive treatment for her folic acid deficiency, this could lead to the possibility of congenital disabilities for the newborn, including those issues that affect the baby’s brain, spine, and spinal cord.
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Determining if You Have a Folic Acid Deficiency
Folic acid is the synthetic form of the naturally occurring folate, which is also called vitamin B9. There are a few clues that can let you know whether you are suffering from the condition of folic acid deficiency.
Folic Acid Deficiency Symptoms
Some of the direct symptoms of this condition include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Weakness in the body in general
- Tingling in the extremities
- Swollen tongue
- Sores in the mouth
- Unexplained weight loss
- Shortness of breath
- Prematurely graying hair
Some of these symptoms will be noticeable in the early stages of folic acid deficiency. Others, especially the more serious symptoms, will become noticeable as the folic acid deficiency continues to progress, eventually leading to the formation of anemia.
If your folic acid deficiency is not treated quickly enough, and it evolves into anemia, you could develop extremely dangerous symptoms, including an irregular heartbeat and heart failure leading to death.
Reasons People Develop Folic Acid Deficiency
Because some of these symptoms are found across multiple types of illnesses and conditions, it could be difficult to pinpoint them as related to folic acid deficiency. If you have a few of the risk factors and symptoms of folic acid deficiency, you should seek a doctor’s treatment for this condition. These risk factors include:
- Improper diet: people who do not eat enough foods containing folate, which include green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, meat, liver, and fortified cereals, could develop folic acid deficiency.
- Pregnancy or lactation: women who are pregnant or just gave birth to a baby need a higher level of folate and folic acid than normal for the baby’s development.
- Disorders: conditions that affect the way the body absorbs vitamin B9, which include leukemia, carcinoma, lymphoma, and alcoholism.
If you have any of these issues, your chances of developing folic acid deficiency will be higher than average.
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Congenital Disabilities Related to Folic Acid Deficiency
For pregnant women, the need to have the proper amount of vitamin B9 in the body is especially important. Folic acid deficiency, if not caught early enough in the pregnancy, and if not treated by adding vitamin B9-rich foods and supplements to the diet, could lead to congenital disabilities.
Congenital disabilities related to folic acid deficiency fall into the category of neural tube defects. Two types of congenital disabilities are the most common in this category.
This birth defect affects the spine. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided estimates that showed roughly 1,645 births result in spina bifida every year.
If a baby develops anencephaly, he or she will be missing parts of the brain or skull at the time of birth. This condition nearly always leads to the death of the baby soon after birth.
Estimates presented by the CDC has about 1 child for every 4,600 births resulting in anencephaly.
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Because of the increased possibility of giving birth to a baby with congenital disabilities, pregnant women should be aware of the symptoms of folic acid deficiency. It is important for the pregnant woman to be mindful of these symptoms so that she can seek treatment from medical personnel as early as possible.
The doctor treating you during pregnancy should also be on the lookout for folic acid deficiency, ensuring he or she can quickly catch this issue and provide treatment before significant complications arise. Additionally, the doctor has a duty to warn the pregnant woman about this issue early on in the pregnancy and recommend ways to avoid it.
If your baby had congenital disabilities or other complications, and you believe your doctor failed to properly warn you about and check for folic acid deficiency, you have the right to seek damages through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group as soon as possible for a free case review at (800) 222-9529.