Anemia is a condition which is associated with inadequacy of hemoglobin or red blood cells. Hemoglobin and RBCs play an important role in transporting oxygen from the lungs to the cells of the body. Oxygen is imperative for metabolic activities of the cells. The normal hemoglobin levels range from 12mg/dl to 16 mg/dl in females and slightly higher in males.
Pernicious anemia is a type of anemia which is associated with deficiency of Vitamin B12. In this condition, the red blood cells are large and immature and therefore can’t perform their function effectively.
Causes And Symptoms Of Pernicious Anemia
There are two primary causes of developing pernicious anemia.
- Deficiency of vitamin B12. This is relatively rare since the body can store Vitamin B12 for a significant amount of time. Further this condition can be corrected by dietary measures and supplementation.
- Autoimmune disorder or genetic disorders can also lead to pernicious anemia. In these sets of disorders, the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 is compromised resulting in anemia.
- Vegetarian individuals having a major stomach surgery are also at a risk of developing pernicious anemia.
- Elderly individuals may also develop pernicious anemia primarily due to reduced ability to absorb the nutrients.
The condition is more frequently diagnosed in adults over the age of sixty years. The condition is occasionally diagnosed in children due to an inborn congenital disorder.
The symptoms associated with the condition include,
- Shortness of breath and tiredness primary due to reduced oxygen carrying capacity of the red blood cells.
- Other symptoms include tingling and numbness which are attributed to nerve disorders.
Epidemiological reports suggest the condition is more frequent in Caucasians of Northern European ancestry. The condition is also pronounced in cultures that have a restricted and purely vegetarian diet.
Treatment And Dietary Management Of Pernicious Anemia
Deficiency related pernicious anemia can easily be corrected by vitamin B12 supplements or injections. The treatment would require to be continued for a period of three to six months, depending upon the severity of the condition.
Dietary modifications can help in the treatment of this condition.
- Consume foods that are high in Vitamin B12. Breakfast cereals fortified with Vitamin B12 are a good start. Dairy products including milk, cheese, butter and yoghurt are loaded with Vitamin B12.
- For individuals not on a strict vegetarian diet lean meat, egg, poultry and fish are good sources of Vitamin B12.
- Homeopathic drugs are particularly useful in treating this condition. Ferrum Phos and Mag Phos are two biochemic drugs that can help in treatment of pernicious anemia. Both these drugs should be consumed in the potency of 3x to 6x and be repeated over several times in a day.
In case symptoms of pernicious anemia persist or the condition is associated with neurological symptoms, it is advised to seek immediate medical attention. Vitamin B12 injections can help reduce the severity of the symptoms and hasten recovery.