Pernicious anemia is a type of megaloblastic anemia that occurs with severe vitamin B12 deficiency. To find the right treatment and understand symptoms of fatigue, depression, and chronic pain, it helps to understand how pernicious anemia impairs your red blood cells and what you can do for prevention.
There are several types of anemia, and they are usually classified by the way they impair red blood cells in size and shape. Specifically, megaloblastic anemia is a blood disorder in which red blood cells called megaloblasts become too large to function properly, resulting in fewer healthy red blood cells needed to deliver oxygen throughout your body; symptoms of memory loss, extreme fatigue, dizziness, and agitation occur when your vital organs and tissues don’t receive enough oxygen.
- With megaloblastic anemia, your body starts producing red blood cells that are overlarge, misshapen, and poorly developed.
- New red blood cells do not mature- they die before their life expectancy.
- Healthy red blood cells become replaced by these distorted megaloblasts.
- Bone marrow starts producing fewer red blood cells.
- Your body starts receiving less oxygen, causing a breakdown in various bodily functions of the organs, tissues, and nervous system.
Pernicious anemia is a type of megaloblastic anemia caused by vitamin B12 malabsorption, the inability to digest vitamin B12 found in meat, fish, dairy, and egg products. Since vitamin B12 is crucial for healthy red blood cell production, long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can progress into severe pernicious anemia, a once-fatal condition that is now prevented through vitamin B12 supplementation.
Pernicious Anemia and B12 Deficiency- Historically Fatal, Still Formidable
- Pernicious anemia occurs with vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Pernicious anemia used to be fatal, until scientists discovered that symptoms could be cured with vitamin B12 supplementation.
- Foods richest in vitamin B12 are seafood and organ meats.
- Even if you eat plenty of beef, chicken, and fish, you may still have vitamin B12 deficiency through lack of intrinsic factor, an enzyme needed to digest and absorb vitamin B12.
- Pernicious anemia is one type of megaloblastic anemia; another type occurs with folic acid deficiency.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency is Type of Anemia: True or False?
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Have you been diagnosed with pernicious anemia or another type of megaloblastic anemia? If so, what kind of vitamin B12 supplements do you use- vitamin B12 shots or over-the-counter vitamin B12?
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