Pernicious Anemia (also known as vitamin B-12 deficiency) is a medical condition when the red blood cell count is lower than usual. It causes when the body is not able to absorb the much-required vitamin B-12 which is essential to build healthy red blood cells.
Facts and Deep Insight into Pernicious Anemia
Years ago, when there were no such appropriate medical treatments or therapies to treat pernicious anemia, it was considered a deadly disease.
Later on, research in 2012, in the Journal of Blood Medicine, found that pernicious anemia is a severe and rare health condition that affects 1.9% of human beings, and most of them are 60 years or older than that.
However, now it can be treated easily via supplements, but in a high majority of cases, the patient remains unaware of the disease until it reaches a dangerous stage.
Common Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia:
This disease grows gradually, which makes the detection of the symptoms difficult. In most of the cases, the symptoms vary from stage to stage.
Here is a detailed list of pernicious anemia symptoms.
The Initial Stage Signs:
- Frequent chest pain
- Constant weight loss
- Severe headache
- Acute weakness
Other common symptoms during the mid-stage:
- Unusual tightness or stiffness in the muscles (spasticity)
- Frequent memory loss
- Lesions on the spinal cord
- Constant numbness in arms (peripheral neuropathy)
- Unsteady gait
Most commonly found symptoms when pernicious anemia is developed properly:
- Acute constipation
- Frequent nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Perplexed mind
- Severe depression conditions
However, all the symptoms seem to be relevant to other health issues but undergoing medical treatment at the right stage is always advisable.
What are the Major Causes of Pernicious Anemia?
There are several reasons behind it including-
- Lack of IF (Intrinsic Factor)
- Scarcity of Vitamin B-12 in the body
Some other conditions resulting in pernicious anemia include:
- Family history with the same health problem
- If you are a Northern European, it’s common to be affected by a deficiency of vitamin B-12 resulting in pernicious anemia
- Having a part of intestine or stomach removed in a surgery
- If you are 60 years or older than that
- If you are pure vegetarian
What if Pernicious Anemia is Left Untreated?
Leaving pernicious anemia untreated for long can turn out into something hazardous. Here are a few health issues may include-
- May result in nerve damage
- Heart damage
- Memory issues
- Neurological symptoms
- Digestive tract issues
How is Pernicious Anemia Diagnosed & Treated?
Usually, when it comes to detecting pernicious anemia, practitioners prefer to go with the ELISA test. ELISA (also known as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or EIA) is an assay technique measuring the number of antibodies, proteins, peptides available in the blood.
The ELISA kit principles are somehow similar to immunoassay technologies. Here, major emphasis is given on coating the plate with high-affinity antibodies.
The ELISA assay analysis procedure includes steps like-
The polystyrene plate is coated carefully with a layer of antibody or antigen
A layer of protein-based solution is used to make a shield on all unbound sites on the polystyrene plate
Enzyme-conjugated antigen or antibody (whichever used) smoothly binds with the target antibody
At last, the substrate is added, and then the enzyme-substrate reaction produces a signal which is further measures to detect the test results
(At each stage, the plate is removed and washed thoroughly.)
If you are not undergoing the ELISA test, the other treatments include-
- Vitamin B-12 injections after a certain time-bound (as recommended by the practitioner)
- Blood tests to monitor and improve conditions
- Preferring meat, poultry items, dairy products, eggs, rice milk in your diet
The Final Word
There are several health diseases that occur due to a lack of vitamins and minerals in the human body. And one of them is pernicious anemia which happens due to vitamin B-12 deficiency. Timely diagnosis helps patients to get timely treatment and regain the lost momentum of health and life, both. In case, you see any of the disease symptoms in your body, consulting a doctor and undergoing an ELISA test is advisable.