Let’s talk about folic acid, a drug of choice but not by choice. Everybody know what folic acid is, and people with sickle cell disease knows it better than everyone else, except maybe pregnant women. I’ve been taking this drug for almost my whole life.
So, here is my personal viewpoint about it.
In countries where malaria is endemic, the combination of folic acid and anti malarial drugs are standard for those with sickle cell disease. I’m not a big fan of drugs even though I’m dependent on it, because of my condition. It’s not that I don’t like the test or smell of these drugs, I just don’t like taking drugs for a reason I don’t even know.
However, whenever I go cold Turkey on my medication things goes bad real quick.
Folic acid help in the production and maintenance of red blood cell in the body. As a medication, folic acid is used to treat certain type of anaemia (like lack of red blood cells) cause by folic acid deficiency. However, even though folic acid is part of the vitamin B family normally found in food like peas, dried beans, oranges, wheat products, asparagus, beets, liver among others, this does not mean you can use it as a B12 replacement. It can’t not be used to treat B12 deficiency, for that you need to talk to your doctor or physician.
I’m not too kin to eating these kind of foods products. I’m working on eating more and practicing healthy diet but it going to take some time for me. So, I’ll be sticking to taking the folic acid tablets. At the moment, I’m more like to taking “Multina” mixed with milk. These to products contain vitamin B in them which is a plus to me. Drink my favourite beverage while getting thee vitamin I need for the development and production of red blood cell in the body. Also, there few yogurt and ice cream beverages that contains the required vitamin I need for my body without depending on tablets.
There was a time my doctor told me to layoff these beverages for some weeks because I’ve to much blood in my body especially the red blood cells. As someone with sickle cell disease, having enough red blood cell in the body is good. However, if the sickle-shaped red blood cells are more than the normal shaped red cells in the blood, it become a problem. It’s a problem because those sickled-shaped cells can form a blockage in the blood stream causing immense pain and agony to the person. So, when the doctor told me to layoff the beverages and even the folic acid tablets, I respect his opinion and decided to take a break it all.
The body of individual with sickle cell disease produces twice as many red blood cells as those without the disease. At the same time destroyed that red cells faster than those without the disease. It’s a continues vicious cycle of the body producing something that helps its susceptibility but at the same time destroy the thing that is keeping it alive. It’s craze how the human body works particular in those with chronic conditions like sickle cell.
Folic acid help in the maintenance of red blood cell in the body and give the cells an extra time to live before the body kills them again and produce new ones. If to say the body produce the blood cells at the same rate it destroys it, it won’t be a big problem. But the body kills the cells faster than it produce it, leading to anaemia and other health challenge. Because the sickled-shaped of the cells the amount of oxygen the blood cell takes from the lungs is very some and because of the limited amount of blood cells in the body, required amount of oxygen circulated to the body is small. This cause breathlessness and tiredness when carrying out a small activity or just walking. That’s doctors advised us to take large amount of water and stay hydrated to help the body compensate the loss of oxygen in the body.
Folic acid helps significantly in the reduction of these issues. The thing with folic acid for me is taking, it’s a tablet that you’ve to take it once a day every day. I’m not a consistent person, I tend to forget to do things sometimes, even if my life depends on it, as in this case. Regardless, I’ll never forget to eat or drink especially if I’m in the mood cook or have money for beverages like “Multina”. This thing help me to maintain my health even when I forget to take my folic acid.
However, it is important for pregnant women to take folic acid even if they eat and drink minerals that have equal value to it. It help immensely in the proper development of body and at the same time reduced the risk of miscarriage. Folic acid and other vitamin tablets are being recommended to pregnant women because it help in the development and maintenance of cells of the baby and that of the expecting mother.
NOTE: Everything I’ve said is based on personal viewpoint not professional. This is how I handle my condition and health. This is just to give you the idea of why folic acid is being prescribed to people with chronic conditions and pregnant women. My method of handling my illness and health may not work for you and I’ll suggest you ask your physician for advice. It takes me a lot of time and went through painful episodes of sickle cell crises to understand my body and its need. Please don’t take my word for it, ask your physician for advice if you want to try other alternatives of sickle cell management.