PERNICIOUS ANEMIA (vitamin b12 deficiency)
Pernicious anemia is the most common anemia caused by lack of intrinsic factors required for the absorption of vitamin B12. Pernicious anemia occurs in adults as a result of gastric atrophy, this means that the body can’t absorb vitamin B12. The parietal cells in the stomach responsible for the production of the intrinsic factor are necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12. The deficiency of these cells leads to the destruction of this important vitamin. Therefore, pernicious anemia is caused by the lack of secretion of the intrinsic factors, atrophy of the gastric mucosa, loss of parietal cells which leads to vitamin B12 deficiency.
The disease is insidious, its development is gradual and it progresses slowly. Pernicious anemia starts with the symptoms of body fatigue, drowsiness and paleness. Then it causes loss of appetite, bloating and diarrhea. There can also be a burning sensation of the tongue, especially when eating acidic foods, and also the loss of taste sense. There are noticeable behavioral changes such as depression and impaired memory. The symptoms such as leg pains and difficulty walking can also be present and there can also be, although rarely, leg paralysis and an abnormal discharge of urine and stool.
The patients are pale, languid, and sometimes bedridden. The patient’s liver and spleen may be enlarged. Some patients experience a disorder in the nervous system and this disorder is displayed through deep sensibility, heightened reflexes and the appearance of pathological reflexes.
The treatment for this anemia should be conducted by the usage of vitamin B12.
Vitamin B 12 can not be created / synthesized in the human or animal body so you have to get it through proper nutrition. Vitamin B12 is extremely important for the brain’s proper functioning and it participates in the metabolism of every cell in the body. Vitamin B12 can be found in meat, especially liver, fish, seafood and dairy products. Pernicious anemia is an autoimmune disease with a definite genetic predisposition.
Any disease or condition can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency. Pernicious anemia is followed, although not always, by neurological disturbances.
The causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency are:
- Insufficient intake through food (strict vegetarian diets: vegans)
- Atrophy or a serious disorder of the stomach lining
- Lack of or abnormal function of the intrinsic factor
- The lack of pancreatic enzymes
- Inflammation of the small bowel, ileitis, celiac disease, bowel resection
- Infection with the parasite
Diphyllobothrium latum: the parasite interferes with the absorption of vitamin B12
This disease is most common in the North European populations:. Englishmen, Scandinavians, Irishmen, Scots, 40 to 70 years of age.