Is it Pernicious Anemia or Multiple Sclerosis? Part 2

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Pernicious anemia (PA) and multiple sclerosis (MS) are both autoimmune disorders that cause fatigue, chronic pain, and physical handicaps, but that is where their similarities end. If that’s the case, why are so many doctors quick to diagnose multiple sclerosis before testing for simple vitamin B12 deficiency from pernicious anemia?

Is it Pernicious Anemia or Multiple=

Is it Pernicious Anemia or Multiple Sclerosis? Part 1

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Early symptoms of multiple sclerosis often vary for the individual, making a diagnosis even harder to achieve.

Multiple sclerosis can be elusive; some days you may feel fine, while other times you experience unusual warning signs of nerve damage, pain symptoms that last for weeks, only to have them disappear again for months…or years at a time.

Like pernicious anemia, the first symptoms of multiple sclerosis usually occur in your 30s and 40s.

Early signs of multiple sclerosis may include:

  • Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet (“pins and needles”)
  • Constant itchiness
  • Sore, burning tongue
  • Vision problems- blurriness, double vision, eye pain, partial blindness
  • Difficulty manipulating arm and leg movements, making it harder to walk or grasp small objects
  • Poor balance
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Muscle spasms, tremors
  • Brain fog, disorientation
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness
  • Low sex drive
  • Poor bladder control

Symptoms of pernicious anemia

Symptoms of pernicious anemia occur as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency, which in turn triggers debilitating conditions caused by diminished red blood cells (and thus oxygen depletion) and damage to the nervous system (peripheral neuropathy).

It’s worth noting that may of the symptoms of pernicious anemia are almost identical to those experienced by multiple sclerosis patients.

Unlike symptoms of multiple sclerosis, which come and go in stages, pernicious anemia symptoms- chronic fatigue, muscle pain, dizziness- are ever present,  and continue to worsen until vitamin B12 levels get back to normal.

Signs of pernicious anemia include:

  • Brain fog (fuzzy thinking)
  • Debilitating fatigue
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet (“pins and needles”)
  • Difficulty balancing on one leg
  • Decreased motor skills
  • Gait disturbances
  • Sore, burning red tongue
  • Eye twitches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Partial paralysis
  • Vision problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea

Stay with us! Part 3 discusses ways your doctor may diagnose multiple sclerosis or pernicious anemia.

Your turn!

Have you been misdiagnosed with MS, when really you have low vitamin B12 levels?

How many years do you think you had vitamin B12 deficiency before you finally got a correct diagnosis?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

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Like this? Read more:

Pernicious Anemia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Which Causes Which?

Can Vitamin B12 Repair Nerve Cells?

15 Chronic Pain Causes and 15 Treatments (Vitamin B12 is one)


Early Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Tingling, Numbness, Balance, and More

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia?

Image(s) courtesy of renjith krishnan/