Which physical findings are characteristic of folic acid deficiency?

Updated: Sep 14, 2018
  • Author: Katherine Coffey-Vega, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Patients with folate deficiency may have darkening of the skin and mucous membranes, particularly at the dorsal surfaces of the fingers, toes, and creases of palms and soles. Distribution typically is patchy. Fortunately, the hyperpigmentation gradually should resolve after weeks or months of folate treatment. A modest temperature elevation (< 102°F) is common in patients who are folate deficient, despite the absence of any infection. Although the underlying mechanism is obscure, the temperature typically falls within 24-48 hours of vitamin treatment and returns to normal within a few days.


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