Friday, 4 December 2020

Pernicious Anemia: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment



Pernicious Anemia is a health condition when the blood in the red blood cells is found lower than the standard level. It is one of the prevalent causes of Vitamin B-12 deficiency in the body.


A guest post by Devin Hyatt

The disease develops mainly because of the autoimmune process's inability to produce a substance known as the stomach's intrinsic factor. This particular substance is responsible for absorbing the dietary vitamin B-12 from food in the small intestine.


Vitamin B-12 has a vital role in the production of red blood cells and its proper functioning.


Pernicious anemia is a rare condition with a 0.1% prevalence in the general population. It increases up to 1.9% for those above the age of 60, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Blood Medicine revealed.


This disease can be treated with oral supplements, vitamin B-12 injections or in combination. If left untreated, the pernicious anemia condition can lead to severe health complications over time.
Diagnosis of Pernicious Anemia



Your doctor may recommend taking the best online blood test to determine the level of vitamin B-12 in your blood. If it is low, you may have pernicious anemia, as the vitamin B-12 levels can be affected by the interference of antibodies. 

To confirm, ELISA kits are most preferred by doctors internationally. It does the quantitative detection of vitamin B12 in the human serum or plasma.

The sensitivity of these kits is quite high, and the results are provided in less than 24 hours. 

Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia


The progression of the condition is slow; therefore, it is easy to become accustomed to the symptoms, which as follows:-


● Fatigue

● Pale Skin

● Chest Pain

● Headaches

● Weakness


In the more severe or prolonged deficiency of the vitamin B-12 in the body, the patient tends to experience specific neurological symptoms, and these include:-


● Dementia

● Depression

● Muscular Weakness

● Unsteady Gut

● Memory Loss

● Peripheral Neuropathy


The other uncommon symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency because of pernicious anemia include:-


● Heartburn

● Loss of Appetite

● Constipation

● Confusion

What Are The Causes of Pernicious Anemia? 

Diet Lacking in Vitamin B-12


Vitamin B-12 is required for the production of healthy red blood cells, so have the following foods rich in vitamin B-12:-


● Diary Products

● Shellfish

● Diary Products

● Eggs

● Nutritional Supplements

● Meat
Lack of Intrinsic Factor in the Body


Our body also needs a certain kind of protein known as intrinsic factor that absorbs vitamin B-12. This protein is produced by the parietal cells present in our stomach.


When you take a meal rich in vitamin B-12, the intrinsic factor absorbs vitamin B-12 from the food in the small intestine. In some cases, our body's immune system attacks & destroys the parietal cells. So, as these cells are destroyed, the body cannot make IF absorb the vitamin B-12 from the diet.
Small intestinal conditions


Any medical issues in the small intestine can lead to the deficiency of vitamin B-12. These may include HIV, Crohn's disease, and celiac disease.


If the ileum portion of the small intestine is surgically removed, then the risk factors of developing vitamin B-12 deficiency becomes high.


Some people have too much small intestine bacteria, which causes a deficiency of vitamin B-12.
Treatment of Pernicious Anemia



Doctors generally prescribe a proper treatment plan to their patients, and this includes:-


● Vitamin B-12 injections are given to boost the levels of this vitamin type in the body. These injections are given overtime for gradual improvement.

● Doctors will monitor the levels of vitamin B-12 in the body throughout therapy.

● Make the necessary adjustments to the dose of vitamin B-12 injections accordingly.


Vitamin B-12 can be given daily or once a week until the average level of this vitamin is not restored.


During the first couple of weeks of treatment, your doctor may advise you to avoid physical activities.


Once the level of vitamin B-12 normalizes, you're required to take one shot every month to maintain it. Your doctor may recommend vitamin B-12 supplements rather than the injections.
Conclusion

People with pernicious anemia require proper lifelong treatment and monitoring. This will help in preventing any irreversible damage to the body organs, causing severe complications. 

Early diagnosis, proactive treatment, and close monitoring are indispensable in living a healthy life even with pernicious anemia.



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