Vitamin B12 Deficiency Pernicious Anemia

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Pernicious Anemia



Vitamin B12 Deficiency Pernicious Anemia
You may have heard of​ people who have to​ get vitamin B12 shots because of​ a​ condition called pernicious anemia. What is​ this,​ how is​ it​ different from other anemia,​ and what are the​ symptoms?
Pernicious anemia is​ a​ deficiency of​ the​ B12 vitamin. Vitamins do not provide nutrition to​ the​ body on​ their own,​ rather they work with food or​ other elements in​ the​ body such as​ bacterias and enzymes to​ help the​ body work properly. Their absorption is​ also affected by other substances in​ the​ body,​ some that are already there,​ and some that people may ingest. in​ order to​ absorb vitamin B12,​ the​ body uses a​ substance called intrinsic factor,​ which is​ produced by the​ stomach. Some people’s bodies either do not produce intrinsic factor at​ all,​ or​ they do not produce enough to​ effectively process vitamin B12 taken through food sources like milk or​ oral supplements. Older people may suffer from pernicious anemia even if​ they did not have it​ earlier in​ life,​ because as​ we​ age,​ our bodies produce less intrinsic factor. Also,​ more women than men suffer from it. People with pernicious anemia have to​ receive B12 by injection,​ because this form does not require combination with intrinsic factor to​ be absorbed by the​ body. People can also suffer from B12 deficiency unrelated to​ intrinsic factor problems,​ and this is​ called macrocytic anemia. it​ can be caused by poor diet,​ alcoholism,​ or​ metabolic disorders.
Symptoms of​ pernicious anemia include fatigue,​ diarrhea,​ rapid heart rate,​ and shortness of​ breath. While these symptoms fit a​ large range of​ maladies,​ people with pernicious anemia may also exhibit the​ Babinski reflex. When you stroke the​ bottom of​ the​ foot,​ the​ big toe flexes up and the​ other toes fan out. it​ is​ a​ reflex present in​ newborns and usually disappears by the​ age of​ 2,​ as​ the​ nervous system matures. When the​ reflex exists in​ older people,​ it​ can be a​ sign of​ nerve damage. it​ can be inherited,​ and is​ rarely diagnosed until age 30. All anemia is​ characterized by lower than normal numbers of​ red blood cells. There are several different types of​ anemia with different causes. Common anemias you may be familiar with are anemia caused by iron deficiency,​ and sickle cell anemia,​ where red blood cells are sickle,​ or​ crescent moon shaped and can stick together,​ causing fatigue and other symptoms. in​ pernicious anemia,​ patients have a​ low red blood cell count,​ but the​ red blood cells they do have are abnormally large,​ and their white blood cells have abnormally large nuclei. Further tests for antibodies against intrinsic factor can be performed to​ make a​ diagnosis of​ pernicious anemia.




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