Pernicious Anemia

Pernicious anemia is a type of disorder involving the red blood cell count of the body due to its inability to absorb Vitamin B12 from the gastrointestinal tract. These result to decreased red blood cell count which leads to certain complications in the body.

What are the Terms for Pernicious Anemia?

Pernicious anemia can also be referred to as congenital pernicious anemia for those type which was developed during birth probably due to genetic factors; Vitamin B12 deficiency mal-absorption; Juvenile pernicious anemia; and Macrocytic achylic anemia.

What is the Importance of Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is typically found in animal products like shellfish, eggs, meat and eggs. It is important because it helps the body create blood cells which is vital in the health and maintenance of the nervous system. Lack of it will result to blood count and quality complications which is a major cause of anemia.

Pernicious Anemia

Source : flickr

What is the Importance of Red Blood Cells in the Body?

Red blood cells are responsible for the efficient transportation of oxygen to the different cells of the body while assisting in the removal of cellular wastes. Without enough of these cells in the body it is very much likely that your body will soon deteriorate.

Red blood cells contain hemoglobin which in turn contains iron that serves as the transport vehicle of the body for its regular supply of oxygen and release of carbon dioxide. Typically, the body replaces red blood cells regularly but there are instances wherein it fails to manufacture sufficient red blood cells due to Vitamin B12 deficiency.

How is Pernicious Anemia related to Megaloblastic Anemia?

Megaloblastic anemia is a type of blood disorder which involves the growth and development of larger than normal red blood cells. It is the major cluster of blood disorder associated with the deficiency in either folic acid or Vitamin B12 just like what patients with pernicious anemia experiences.

What are the Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia?

Individuals who suffer from pernicious anemia experience one or more of the following symptoms: pale skin, loss of appetite, constipation, diarrhea, shortness of breath, difficulty in concentratingdepression, numbness in the hands and feet, dementia, sudden change in mental status and swollen and bleeding gums.

The patient may also suffer from jaundice due to the impaired formation of blood cells; neuropathic pain; rapid heart rate, muscle weakness, fatigue and low blood pressure; glossitis or swollen red tongue and paresthesias characterized by tingling sensations in the toes or fingers. Moreover, long term complications of pernicious anemia if not treated accordingly is carcinoids and gastric cancer.

What are the Causes of Pernicious Anemia?

Pernicious anemia is classified by doctors as a type of autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system commits the mistake of considering its own tissues an enemy thus destroying it on its own. This is a result of the decreased absorption of the body of vitamin B-12 triggered by the abnormal function of the auto-antibody against intrinsic factor, a type of protein manufactured by the stomach whenever the body realizes the need to absorb more vitamin B-12 which may be due to atrophic gastritis.

At times, pernicious anemia is also associated with surgical procedures done to the patient like gastrectomy, gastric bypass surgery and Roux-en Y bypass. These types of surgical procedure results to less stomach functionality which eliminates mucosal cells that helps assist in the absorption of vitamin B-12.

Aside from these, those who are suffering from chronic thyroiditis, Type 1 diabetes, hypopituitarism, vitiligo, myasthenia gravis, Addison’s disease, Graves disease, secondary amenorrhea and testicular dysfunction are also at high risk of suffering from pernicious anemia.

How can I Get Rid of Pernicious Anemia?

Those who wish to prevent or avoid suffering from pernicious anemia should start eating foods that are rich in Vitamin B12 as mentioned earlier. Nevertheless, those who are already positively diagnosed with this condition should have a monthly Vitamin B12 injection so as to help correct the imbalance of this vitamin in the blood. This helps treat anemia and reduce the symptoms of pernicious anemia.

The patient may also have the option to choose other ways of administering Vitamin B-12 aside from injectible. This includes oral Vitamin B12 supplements or Vitamin B12 administration through the nose. For severe cases, both oral vitamin B12 supplements and injections may be necessary.

Red Blood Cell

Source : flickr

Vitamin B12

Source : wikipedia

What Tests or Examinations must I go through for my Physician to be sure with my Condition?

Physicians will recommend that you undergo a complete blood cell count. This is a 100% ways of distinguishing if you are indeed a victim of pernicious anemia. If the red blood cells count is extremely low then there is indeed a very big possibility that the symptoms mentioned above that you have experienced is associated with this condition.

Aside from this, you will also be required to undergo tests which will get data with regards to your blood vitamin B12 level, iron and iron-binding capacity level, folate level, homocysteine blood level, and peripheral smear examination.

Schilling test will also be done to evaluate how fast and efficient your body absorbs Vitamin B12 as well as bone marrow biopsy in case your physician suspects a possible bone marrow disorder.

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