Foods High in Vitamin B12
Rare Form of Anemia
Pernicious Anemia is a little known disease that afflicts many people in the United States and around the world. In 1996 approximately 399,455 people were living with pernicious anemia. That translates to roughly 1 out of every 680 people who are living with this disease. Pernicious Anemia is routinely misdiagnosed, leaving sufferers searching for answers.
How To Acquire Pernicious Anemia
There are three main ways of acquiring pernicious anemia.
- A protein in the stomach called intrinsic factor. This protein is made by the cells in the lining of the stomach. When this protein is not produced B12 is not absorbed by the body resulting in pernicious anemia.
Eating a vegetarian diet lacking in B12 or eating a poor diet.
- Intestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease interfere with bodily absorption of B12.
What is Pernicious Anemia?
Anemia is a blood disorder in which the blood cells are unable to get enough oxygen. The most common symptom of anemia is exhaustion or being tired. Pernicious Anemia is an autoimmune disease that may be diagnosed in childhood, but rarely appears before the age of thirty. You can't prevent pernicious anemia caused by a lack of a protein called intrinsic factor. Without intrinsic factor, you won't be able to absorb vitamin B12 and will develop pernicious anemia. Patients with pernicious anemia are unable to absorb vitamin B12 (cobalamin) into their system from food.
- The inability to absorb B12 into the digestive tract is permanent. There is no cure for this disorder.
Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia
- Heart Palpitations
- Shortness of Breath
- Low B12 level
- Difficulty concentrating
- Tingling in hands and feet
National Institute of Health Findings
According to the National Institute of Health, some people develop Pernicious Anemia from a poor diet. For these people, eating foods high in B12 will be effective. Steps can be taken to prevent the disorder if caused by dietary factors.
Because pernicious anemia is so rare doctors usually find it in the search for other causes such as heart disease, neurological disorders, and other forms of anemia. Pernicious anemia is known by many other names. These are megaloblastic anemia, Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, combined systems disease, and congenital pernicious anemia.
Untreated Pernicious Anemia
People with untreated pernicious anemia for the long term may be subject to heart failure, heart attacks, strokes, stomach cancer, confusion, and memory loss. If left untreated the patient will have difficulty with activities involved in daily living and may suffer damage to the heart, nervous system, and digestive tract. The condition may ultimately be fatal if left untreated over long periods of time.
- Pernicious Anaemia Society - Statistics by Country for Pernicious anemia
Statistics and other information about pernicious anemia
Foods Rich in B12
Vitamin B12 (mcg)
Beef liver, braised
Atlantic Mackerel cooked dry heat
Pernicious Anemia Explained
More Risk Factors
Genetic risk factors:
- Scandinavian or Northern European descent
- Have a family history of the condition
Some common risks or causes:
- Weakened stomach lining (atrophic gastritis)
- An autoimmune condition in which the body's immune system attacks intrinsic factor protein or the cells that make it.
Because this disorder is rare many people discover their doctor to be resistant to even getting tests for B12 levels. Be persistent. You know your own body and the risks of being untreated are high. So do not allow your doctor to discount your need to know. If necessary insist on getting the blood test that will validate your concerns. Inform your doctor if you are taking para-aminosalicylic acid, colchicine, neomycin or phenytoin (also known as Dilantin), as these may affect your test results. Folic acid can also mask a B12 deficiency so be sure to inform your physician.
Be proactive about your treatment. If your doctor refuses treatment find one who will give you the treatment you need.
Get the facts about the disease.
Pernicious anemia is easily treated with regular vitamin B12 injections. Depending on B12 (cobalamin) levels when diagnosed it may be necessary to receive injections weekly to get levels back to normal then monthly. Get regular blood tests to stay on top of your B12 level.
While there is no cure for this disorder, regular injections of vitamin B12 will prevent further damage to the body systems. Sufferers will notice immediate results within hours of being injected with vitamin B12.
Diseases That Raise Risk of Pernicious Anemia
Patient Discussion About B12 Injections
Tests for Pernicious Anemia
Possible Disease Progression
The disease may cause gastric polyps, gastric cancer or gastric carcinoid tumors. While rare the possibility is there if the disease is left untreated.
Alternative Names for Pernicious Anemia
Macrocytic achylic anemia; Congenital pernicious anemia; Juvenile pernicious anemia; Vitamin B12 deficiency (malabsorption).
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