Anemia, as we know is the deficiency of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the body and is characterized by weakness or fatigue, paleness, and so on. Pernicious anemia on the other hand is a condition where loss of gastric parietal cells in the body and a consequent inability to absorb Vitamin B 12 from the body’s gastrointestinal tract.

Many of the symptoms of pernicious anemia are common to anemia and are –

  • Pernicious AnemiaFeelings of tiredness and fatigue; muscle weakness.
  • A rapid heartbeat or low blood pressure and shortness of breath.
  • Pale skin or pallor.
  • Balance problems and difficulty in perceiving the body’s parts and making the effort required for movement a condition known as proprioception.
  • Problems with nerve functioning (pins and needles, numbness in the fingers and so on).
  • Brain fog, confusion, mild cognitive impairment and the inability to respond quickly and normally. There could also be memory problems and personality changes.
  • Recurrent diarrhea.
  • Neuropathic pain.
  • Thyroid imbalance (hypo or hyper thyroid).
  • Jaundice.

Pernicious anemia occurs when the body is unable to absorb Vitamin B 12 properly from food, thereby inhibiting the manufacture of new red blood cells.

This could happen as a result of auto immune disorders when a body turns upon itself or erroneously attacks itself. It is more likely among sufferers of problems such as thyroid imbalances or diabetes.

There are genetic elements to the condition and it is more likely to occur to a person when it runs in their family. Age is another risk factor and pernicious anemia is more likely to be seen among older people because with age, there is a thinning or atrophy of cells that line the stomach. Gender is another factor, since women are more likely to have pernicious anemia than men.

Sometimes it could be surgery, particularly of the stomach that could be a risk factor. Also ulcers or cancers of the digestive tract could raise risk of the condition.

Treatment for Pernicious Anemia

The main form of treatment for pernicious anemia is to restore the levels of Vitamin B 12 in the body since it is the deficiency of this vitamin that causes it in the first place. The treatment involves injections of the vitamin, since oral medications containing vitamin B 12 are poorly absorbed by the body.

This is done until the deficiency has been redressed or corrected. After this, care is taken to maintain the levels of Vitamin B 12 in the body. Boosters shots may be given every 3 months or so after this and most women go on to make a complete recovery from pernicious anemia.