Pernicious anemia is a disease that can be caused by a lack of vitamin B12. Read on to know how to identify the onset of this disease…
Pernicious anemia is one of the many forms of anemia. Anemia is a condition in which the body doesn’t have a sufficient amount of hemoglobin. The human body needs hemoglobin for the smooth transportation of oxygen to all the tissues of the body. When a person suffers from pernicious anemia, the cells that carry blood all around the body face problems in their smooth functioning. This is caused due to low intake of vitamin B12.
People who suffer from pernicious anemia often remain exhausted and tired, as their body doesn’t get enough oxygen. If proper diagnosis is not done soon, this ailment can cause serious problems for the heart, nerves, and various other parts of the body. Due to this condition, the heart works overtime to pump more blood and get enough oxygen to the various organs of the body. This high stress on the heart can result in an irregular or abnormally fast heartbeat.
Another common symptom is tingling in the entire body, and numb hands and feet. People also have problems with walking and maintaining their balance. Low vitamin B12 levels in the body can also affect taste perception and vision. Shrinking of stomach lining is also observed when there is not enough vitamin B12 in the body. Other symptoms include vomiting, bloating or gas, loss of appetite, and rapid weight loss.
It is mainly caused due to the lack of a protein that helps absorb vitamin B12. When a person suffers from pernicious anemia, the body starts making antibodies that eliminate cells which make this protein. As these cells get destroyed, the body can no longer absorb the vital nutrient. Genetic disorders are also a potential cause.
The main cause in older adults is the high number of harmful bacteria in the stomach. People suffering from celiac disease often also suffer from pernicious anemia, as their intestine is too weak to absorb various kinds of proteins. Eating uncooked or undercooked meat may cause a tapeworm infection, which can also be a major cause. Diets that are low on fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products miss out on vitamin B12.
The main goal of treatment is to restore the levels of vitamin B12 in the body. Some people may require lifelong treatment. If it’s a severe case, the doctor recommends giving vitamin shots or injections. They are given almost every day until the adequate level is restored in the body. For a minor case, pills may be prescribed. For older people, who may have difficulty swallowing pills, gel and spray is prescribed. The conditions are likely to improve after a considerable period of time. It also depends how well your body responds to the treatment.
Pernicious anemia can be avoided if a balanced diet filled with all the nutrients is followed, and, when diagnosed in time, can be completely cured.