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Pernicious anaemia

(12 Posts)
Rustypaperclip Tue 20-Dec-16 23:00:31

As the title says, I have recently been diagnosed with Pernicious anaemia following blood tests. I've also read the recent post on RLS and the link to anaemia which is interesting as I suffered badly for the last year or so from really bad RLS. My doctor didn't give me much information about causes or treatment apart from improving my diet, but I already have quite a good diet. I'd be grateful for any more advice or help

TeaBelle Tue 20-Dec-16 23:03:05

My mum has this. AFAIK it is usual to receive regular injections of b12 over a couple of weeks to get up to where you need to be, then receive injections every 3 months.

Rustypaperclip Wed 21-Dec-16 00:23:21

Thank you, I have heard similar but my doctor told me to improve my diet, even though I eat pretty well I think

plimsolls Wed 21-Dec-16 00:28:19

I'm not sure improving your diet will help as i think!pernicious anemia stops you absorbing the B12 that you ingest.

I don't have PA but I was investigated for it
As I do have a B12 deficiency and I'm sure it's not down to a dietary intake issue. Maybe speak to a different doctor....

alphaechokiwi Wed 21-Dec-16 00:30:15

I think you need to see a different doctor. If you have pernicious anaemia, you cannot absorb B12. If you can't absorb B12, you can't absorb Iron - hence the anaemia. Changing your diet will make no difference, this is an auto immune condition. The treatment is B12 injections for life, starting with weekly for 6 weeks, then every 3 months or so. You should also be checked for other autoimmune disorders. It's shocking if your doctor does not know this.

Rustypaperclip Wed 21-Dec-16 00:40:21

My doctor mentioned both B12 deficiency and pernicious anaemia. She didn't seem to differentiate between the two hence my confusion. I also have low levels of vitamin D but she says that is normal

Rustypaperclip Wed 21-Dec-16 00:45:26

Plimsolls what is the difference between PA and a B12 deficiency? What are the different symptoms, causes and treatments, if you don't mind me asking. Sorry to bombard you with questions!

alphaechokiwi Wed 21-Dec-16 00:49:24

If there is a suspicion of pernicious anaemia it needs a definitive diagnosis. It cannot be treated with diet. If your GP is taking no follow up action to properly diagnose you, I strongly suggest that you see a different doctor and ask for follow up blood testing / referral to a haematologist. It's not unusual for accompanying Vit D, folate, ferratin etc imbalances.

Kewcumber Wed 21-Dec-16 00:50:22

B12 deficiency is exactly that - not enough B12 whatever the casue eg you can suffer from it if you have a vegan or vegetarian diet and are not careful about eating enough stuff with B12 in it.

Pernicious anaemia is a specific condition which is one of the causes of b12 deficiency and though the two are often used interchangably they aren;t really.

Think B12 deficiency as the giant unmbrella and PA as a subset of that.

I thought you weren;t technically diagnosed with PA unless you've been tested for and found to have the antibodies to intrinsic factor which prevents the absorption of B12. If you have antibodies you can improve your diet all you like you won;t be absorbing any b12 anytime soon!

PA ia an autoimmune condition.

Kewcumber Wed 21-Dec-16 00:50:53

I also have low D, folate and ferritin

plimsolls Wed 21-Dec-16 08:20:21

yes, as Kewcumber says..... PA can cause B12 deficiency but there are other things which cause B12 deficiency too so low B12 doesn't necessarily mean you have PA

PA is an autoimmune condition which involves your body preventing you absorbing B12. It involves an enzyme called Intrinsic Factor. PA is diagnosed by testing for the presence of certain antibodies relating to this. It's a specific blood test. Treatment is, I think, injections of B12 in order to "bypass" the autoimmune response in your stomach and deliver the B12 straight into the blood.

Other causes of B12 deficiency are digestive problems such as IBS, malabsorption syndrome, or Crohns Disease. You'd probably have other symptoms with these such as severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bowel issues, cramps etc. Again, upping your dietary intake probably wouldn't help here as the issue is with your body not fully extracting and absorbing the B12 from your food.

If everything else in your body is well, you can also be deficient in B12 if you simply don't eat enough of the right food. Apparently vegetarians and vegans are more prone to this form of b12 deficiency because of the nature of their diet. If you google "foods containing b12" you should find a few places that list the kind of foods you should be eating to see whether this is an issue for you.

alphaechokiwi Wed 21-Dec-16 09:09:31

OP, the key to the issue is to determine what is the cause of your B12 deficiency. Without this diagnosis it is untreatable. It's quite straightforward, and you and your GP should be clear on it.
Pernicious anaemia was a fatal condition until the 20th century when the role of B12 was understood.

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