What Is Pernicious Anemia

Today, there are not many people who can state clearly what Pernicious Anemia really is. This is mainly because they have not gotten to understand what it really is.  This disease is characterized by the decrease n red cells. This occurs at the time that you body fails to rightly absorb vitamin b12 from the gastro-intestinal tract. Vitamins b12 is a primary determinant in the development of the red cells.

Causes

The main reason is clear. The body requires vitamins b12 in order to develop the red cells.  In order to provide the right amount of these vitamins in your body, you have to consume foods that contain plenty if vitamin b12.These includes poultry, meat, eggs, shellfish, and also dairy products as well.

In order to absorb these vitamins in to the body and the blood stream as well, you body would need the intrinsic factor that is a special protein. This is produced by the stomach cells.  The absorption of vitamin B12 occurs in the small intestines somewhere towards the end.  If at all the stomach doesn’t produce adequate intrinsic factor proteins, the vitamins would not be rightly absorbed into the system.

Infants are rarely born with a deficit of the intrinsic factor. If Pernicious Anemia happens during child-birth, then it may be hereditary. But it is not a normal case. Some of the most prevalent causative agents of this condition are:

  • Weakening of the stomach lining
  • Attack of the intrinsic factor producing cells by the immune system

This disease in most cases starts slowly and might take quite some time before it gets fully established.  The average age of diagnosis of Pernicious Anemia stands at 60 years.

The risk factors

There are a number of risk factors that are associated with this condition. These include;

Family and the disease history

History of some autoimmune disorders like; graves, Addison’s, chronic, myasthenia gravis, type 1 diabetes and many more.

Symptoms

There might be mild or no symptoms at all for people with mild anemia. Some of the typical symptoms of vitamin b12 deficiency are;

  • Diarrhea,
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Pale skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Problems with concentration
  • Breath shortness
  • Bleeding gums and swollen tongue
  • Nerve damages mainly caused by the vitamin b12 deficiency.

The exams and test

Some of the tests that you may have to undergo in order to assess if you have the Pernicious Anemia condition are:

  • Examination of the bone marrow
  • You may also need to run a blood count
  • Schilling test
  • Your serum level would also need to be checked
  • The reticulocyte count will also be assessed

At times the diagnosis of Pernicious Anemia may actually affect the results in the following tests;

  • Cholesterol test
  • Gastrin
  • Peripheral smear
  • Bilirubin
  • TIBC
  • Leukocyte phosphatase

The deficiency of vitamin b12 also affects the appearance of the cells which form the outer part of the body.

Treatment

The most common treatment is the prescription of monthly injections of vitamin b12. This helps to treat the Pernicious Anemia and also corrects any neurological complications. In some cases, elderly patients are advised to take vitamin b12 to treat gastric atrophy. The supplements are taken by mouth and with injections as well. If you did not know, today there are vitamin b12 preparations that can be taken by the nose.

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