Pernicious Anemia also known as Addison's Anemia is a decrease in red blood cells when the body can't absorb enough vitamin B-12. The body needs vitamin B-12 to make red blood cells. We get this vitamin by eating foods such as poultry, shellfish, eggs, meat and dairy products. Cells in the stomach release a special protein called intrinsic factor (IF) that absorbs vitamin B-12. When the stomach doesn't make enough of this protein, the intestine can't absorb vitamin B-12.
The Body systems involved are the Circulatory and Digestive System. The Circulatory System with the red blood cells and the Digestive System with the stomach and intestine.
There are different ways in which Pernicious Anemia can be diagnosed. Medical and family history as well as Physical exams can be used to discover a link with this disease. Procedures like a complete blood count (CBC), Bone Marrow test and others can accurately determine if the patient has this disease. A CBC checks the hematocrit levels in the body. Hematocrit is a measure of how much space red blood cells take up in your blood. A CBC will quickly determine if the patient has anemia. Serum folate, iron, and iron-binding capacity tests also can help show whether the patient has pernicious anemia or another type of anemia. A Bone Marrow test can show if the bone marrow is making enough red blood cells. The doctor may also recommend other blood tests to check vitamin B-12 levels.
The treatment for this disease is very simple. The doctor can give the patient Vitamin B-12 pills or shots. Patients with severe Pernicious Anemia are treated with shots. The shots are given in the muscle every day or every week until the vitamin B-12 level increases. After it increases, the shots are reduced to once a month. In less severe cases, the doctor may recommend large doses of vitamin B-12. For people that have trouble swallowing, a nasal spray is also available.
Every treatment has it's complications and Vitamin B-12 has its side effects. Common side effects are headaches, itching, nervousness, anxiousness and Involuntary or uncontrollable movements. Serious side effects are congestive heart failure, clots in arm and leg, life threatening allergic reaction and fluid building up in the lungs. Pernicious Anemia can have some complications including heart problems, chronic anemia, stomach cancer, and brain and nerve damage.
People with this disease may need life long treatment. With proper treatment, patients can see improvements, feel good and live normal lives. Any complications of pernicious anemia, such as nerve damage, may be reversible with early treatment. During doctor visits, he/she may check the vitamin B-12 and adjust treatment.
The reason why I chose this disease is because there is not a prevention for it but we can do things that can help. A lot of people don't know that it can affect families on the long run. It is important that patients that have this disease tell their family members because they can be affected as well. I know friends that have vitamin D-12 deficiency that run the risk of getting affected by this disease.
Pernicious Anemia is a disease that is caused by vitamin B-12 deficiency. This disease can't be prevented but eating foods high in vitamin B-12 like meat can help reduce risk. The treatment for this disease is taking vitamin B-12 pills or injections. Patients with this disease may need treatment all of their life. The good thing about this disease is that the treatment is easy and not time consuming. Who would think that a lack of a simple vitamin can cause a deadly disease if not treated.
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