Anemia resulting from too little folic acid, needed for red-blood-cell maturation (see erythrocyte). White-cell and platelet levels are also often low. Progressive gastrointestinal problems develop. It may result from poor diet or from malabsorption, cirrhosis of the liver, or anticonvulsant drugs; it may also occur in the last three months of pregnancy and in severe hemolytic anemia (in which red cells break down). The blood profile resembles that of pernicious anemia. Taking folic acid causes rapid improvement; an adequate diet cures cases caused by malnutrition.
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