Pernicious anemia: what is it?

Perniciosa anemia is a disease that begins to appear after years after the occurrence. During this time in the human body irreversible changes in the gastrointestinal tract, nervous system and bone marrow. This leads to the development of many symptoms and their complications. That is why this type of anemia has to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Knowledge of the first symptoms and causes may help in preventing complications.

Pernicious anemia (B12 deficient, megaloblastic, or Addison’s disease-Barmera) is a blood disease characterized by decrease in hemoglobin and red blood cell count, resulting from lack of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) and affecting the digestive system, the nervous and the hematopoietic system.

What happens in pernicious anemia?

Normally, the vitamin B12 is absorbed in the stomach, when separated from the protein in your diet (meat, dairy products). For this splitting enzyme of the gastric juice and specific intrinsic factor of castle, which also serves as a protein carrier to vitamin B12. Only in the presence of this factor, the vitamin is absorbed into the bloodstream, in the absence of cyanocobalamin enters the large intestine and excreted along with feces.

A lack of vitamin clinically manifested not once, as it is synthesized in the liver and some time (about 2 – 4 years) is compensated for the deficiencies. Factor of castle is produced by specific parietal cells of the gastric mucosa, while their damage or destruction increases the risk of pernicious anemia.

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Possible causes of pernicious anemia

  • Family history, congenital lack of intrinsic factor of castle.
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  • Atrophic gastritis. This causes the cells producing the factor (s) die, and they replace the cells that produce mucus (slime).
  • Autoimmune processes are diseases arising from the formation of antibodies to the cells of the body. In pernicious anemia, can be antibodies (immune cells) to parietal cells or to the innermost factor. Those and other types of antibodies neutralize the mechanisms of absorption of vitamin B12.
  • Operations on the stomach, resulting in destruction of most of the body.
  • Disease of the intestines, preventing the absorption of vitamin B12 (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease).
  • Dysbiosis in the development of pathogenic bacteria which absorb vitamins from food.
  • Helminthic infestation (worms).
  • Insufficient intake of cyanocobalamin with food (for example, vegetarian diet).

What is pernicious anemia?

Pernicious anemia is polisindromnoe disease that is manifested in many symptoms. Vitamin B12 is involved in the formation of red blood cells, in metabolic processes in the nervous system. So the lack of this vitamin is primarily manifested by symptoms from the blood system, gastrointestinal tract and nervous system.

  • Anemic syndrome. When deficiency of cyanocobalamin disrupted the formation of normal red blood cells, they cease to carry oxygen to the tissues and organs. Because of this there is weakness, pallor, fatigue, tachycardia (palpitations), shortness of breath and dizziness. Sometimes it may be low-grade fever – increased body temperature to low numbers (not above 38 degrees).
  • Gastrointestinal syndrome – symptoms of digestive system organs. There is a loss of appetite, irregular bowel movement (constipation or diarrhea), enlarged liver (hepatomegaly). Characteristic changes in the language. They manifest themselves in the form of inflammatory reactions of the mucous membrane of the tongue (glossitis) or mouth (Angelita), in the form of a burning sensation and pain in the tongue. The specific symptom is a «painted tongue» is a smooth tongue crimson. In the stomach will occur atrophy of the mucosa and the development of atrophic gastritis with a decrease in secretory function.
  • Neurological disorder of symptoms from the nervous system. Arise as a result of violation of fat metabolism and the formation of toxic acids that affect nerve cells. Also there is a disorder of myelin synthesis necessary for the formation of a protective sheath of nerves. The syndrome manifests itself in the form of numbness of limbs, disturbance of gait and fine motor skills, stiffness in the muscles. Also as a result of relaxation of the sphincter can occur enuresis (urinary incontinence) and encopresis (fecal incontinence). There may be signs of psychiatric disorder –insomnia, depression, psychosis or hallucinations.
  • Hematological syndrome – symptoms from the blood. Evident in the blood results in progressive anemia (low hemoglobin and red blood cells), leukopenia (decrease number of white blood cells), the appearance of atypical red blood cells – megaloblastic forms.