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Posts Tagged ‘Anemia Symptoms’

Anemia Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013



Common types of anemia which cause constant fatigue, light-headedness, and dizziness include vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, low iron anemia, or anemia associated with chronic illness. To find out the cause of low red blood cells, it’s important to get diagnosed and receive proper treatment.

Anemia Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention- B12 Patch

Also read Is it Anemia from Vitamin B12 Deficiency, or Low Iron?

Please note: The following information is not medical advice; if you suspect you suffer from anemia, then please speak to a physician immediately.

What are the symptoms of anemia?

Anemia symptoms occur when you’re not able to sustain adequate amounts of red blood cells, carriers of hemoglobin which supply your body with much-needed oxygen. Symptoms of decreased oxygen, hypoxemia, may vary according to severity.

Common symptoms indicating anemia include:

  • Chronic, overwhelming fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Icy hands and feet
  • Pale skin

How is anemia diagnosed?

In order to diagnose anemia, your doctor will need to run a series of tests, including:

  • Blood screening for vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Iron level test
  • Reticulocyte count
  • Bilirubin
  • Tests for autoimmune disorders

Can anemia be cured?

In most cases, symptoms of anemia can be treated easily.

If anemia results from a vitamin B12 deficiency, then immediate vitamin B12 supplementation will eventually alleviate fatigue, vertigo, and heart conditions associated with anemia.

Often, treatment for pernicious anemia from low vitamin B12, or for other vitamin deficiencies requires lifelong supplementation, in order to prevent a relapse of anemia symptoms.

Sometimes, anemia is caused by a chronic condition, such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or leukemia. In such cases, treatment of the primary illness is necessary for complete recovery, as advised by your physician.

Your turn!

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Like this? Read more:

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Image courtesy of Goldmund100/flickr

Borderline Pernicious Anemia- What’s the Difference?

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013



Severe vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to develop; if you’ve been diagnosed with borderline pernicious anemia, then there’s still time for you to prevent permanent nerve damage and boost healthy red blood cells…

Borderline Pernicious Anemia- What’s the Difference? B12 Patch

B12 deficiency is pernicious and sinister

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 3.2% of middle-aged individuals have dangerously low levels of vitamin B12, resulting in symptoms such as constant fatigue, memory loss, depression, and painful numbness and tingling in the extremities.

Additionally, a whopping 20% of people from the same age group have borderline pernicious anemia, meaning that their vitamin B12 levels are steadily plummeting, although none of the characteristic symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency have manifested themselves…yet.

Untreated, borderline pernicious anemia, or subclinical vitamin B12 deficiency, can quickly escalate into full-blown clinical pernicious anemia, causing more than just a few debilitating symptoms.

Long-term pernicious anemia can lead to irreversible nerve damage, blood diseases, an increased risk for heart attack or stroke, and in worst-case scenarios, death.

Risk factors

Pernicious anemia is not exactly a disease, but rather a condition that can occur as a result of an underlying illness or other risk factors.

Risk factors for pernicious anemia or any other forms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Gastrointestinal disease (Crohn’s disease, gastritis, stomach ulcers)
  • Family history for pernicious anemia
  • Family history for autoimmune disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraines
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Removal of ilium
  • Alcoholism
  • Old age
  • Strict vegan dieting

For more, read Seven Stages of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

What are the symptoms of borderline pernicious anemia?

Unfortunately, there are rarely any apparent symptoms when vitamin B12 deficiency is still at the subclinical stage.

Sometimes, a blood test can confirm if vitamin B12 levels are noticeably low, but not always. Most vitamin B12 blood screenings test for total vitamin B12 molecules in your entire body, without distinguishing between “active B12” and dormant B12 which sits in your liver.

If you fall into any of the risk factors for even borderline pernicious anemia, then you should supplement with extra vitamin B12, even if you haven’t noticed any of the telltale symptoms, in order to prevent depletion.

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Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

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Like this? Read more:

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Pernicious Anemia and B12 Deficiency- Historically Fatal, Still Formidable


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Image courtesy of Thirteen Of Clubs/flickr

Anemia: Frequently Asked Questions, Answered

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012



Anemia is a blood condition that results in too few red blood cells in your blood stream. There are several different types of anemia, including pernicious anemia, a cause of vitamin B12 deficiency. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about anemia as posed to the medical community; find out how to prevent anemia and recognize the symptoms.

Anemia: Frequently Asked Questions, Answered- B12 Patch

What is anemia?

Anemia is a condition in which you suffer severely depleted red blood cells, and as a result also lack oxygen, which is carried by red blood cells’ hemoglobin. With pernicious anemia, a depletion of vitamin B12 results in large, misshapen red blood cells that are unable to leave the bone marrow and deliver red blood cells to your body’s tissues and cells.

What causes anemia?

Anemia may occur as a result of chronic illness, such as rheumatoid arthritis or kidney disorder, or it may be caused by vitamin malabsorption, such as vitamin B12 deficiency. In rare cases, anemia is inherited. Sickle cell anemia, for example, may be passed down in the family.

Other causes of anemia are pregnancy, gastrointestinal disorders, and blood loss from surgery or injury.

How many types of anemia are there?

There are hundreds of types of anemia, all varying by cause. The most common forms of anemia are:

  • Megaloblastic anemia (including pernicious anemia) from vitamin B12 and/or folate deficiency
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Aplastic anemia or thalassemia from bone marrow and/or stem cell disorder
  • Sickle cell anemia (inherited)
  • Anemia caused by blood loss
  • Anemia caused by depleted hormones, such as occurs with kidney disease, hypothyroidism, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis

Is Vitamin B12 Deficiency an Autoimmune Disorder? Yup

What are the symptoms of anemia?

The symptoms of anemia vary according to the cause and severity of depleted red blood cells. The onset of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia usually manifests itself as fatigue, sluggish thinking, and painful tingling and numbness in the extremities (hands and feet).

Here are some common symptoms of anemia:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Confusion (“brain fog”)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Frequent bruising
  • Paleness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations following exercise
  • Tinnitus (ear ringing)
  • Unusual cravings for non-food items (ice, dirt)
  • Muscle cramps
  • “Pins and needles” in the hands and feet
  • Painful numbness
  • Stiff arms or legs
  • Difficulty walking

Diagnosing Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Pernicious Anemia: Top 10 Tests

Treatments for anemia

Depending on the cause of anemia, several treatments are effective at replenishing red blood cells and preventing further complications.

For vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, it is essential to supplement with large doses of vitamin B12, immediately. Usually, treatment is given in the form of vitamin B12 injections, to be taken every week, and sometimes tapered off to monthly doses. For many patients of pernicious anemia, additional doses of over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplements are helpful to keep symptoms of fatigue from flaring up and to maintain healthy levels of vitamin B12 between doctor’s visits.

Folate and iron deficiency anemia are likewise treatable with regimented vitamin supplementation.

When anemia is caused by chronic illnesses, the only way to replenish red blood cells is to treat the underlying disease. In some cases, blood transfusions or hormone therapy may help for maintaining red blood cells.

For bone marrow anemia, treatments range from bone marrow transplants to chemotherapy.

Treatments for sickle cell anemia include oxygen therapy, pain relievers, antibiotics, blood transfusions, and vitamin supplementation. Certain cancer drugs are also sometimes used to treat sick cell anemia sufferers.

Anemia prevention

Not all types of anemia are preventable. To prevent vitamin deficiency anemia, such as vitamin B12 deficiency, eat a healthy diet full of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources.

Vitamin B12 occurs naturally in animal-based foods such as beef, chicken, liver, seafood, milk, and eggs. Still, it’s important to test routinely for vitamin B12 deficiency, as vitamin malabsorption may prevent you from digesting vitamin B12 naturally from the foods you eat.

Iron deficiency anemia and folate deficiency anemia may be prevented by including leafy green vegetables, iron fortified cereals, pasta, and beans.

To find out more about inherited forms of anemia, seek a genetic counselor.

Please tell us…

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

Pernicious Anemia and B12 Deficiency- Historically Fatal, Still Formidable

9 Conditions that Mimic Fibromyalgia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency


Anemia Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diet, and Treatment- WebMD

Anemia-Mayo Clinic

Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to keep Vitamin B12 Deficiency from Shrinking your Brain

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011



Brain health and vitamin B12 deficiency: Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining cognitive health and addressing mild memory problems related to aging. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common health problem for senior citizens who suffer the beginning stages of dementia.



Brain atrophy is what happens when brain tissue disintegrates.  In the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of age-related dementia, a reduction in the brain’s gray matter correlates to symptoms such as memory loss, disorientation, paranoia, and uncharacteristically aggressive behavior.  In addition to losing brain volume, some elderly individuals also lose bone mass.


B12- the Brain Vitamin

In a recent study, elderly test participants who had vitamin B12 deficiency scored poorly on cognitive skills and memory testing, compared to their peers.  In addition, MRI scans indicated that senior citizens with low B12 levels also had less brain mass than peers who had normal levels of vitamin B12.

Cognitive Decline

This is not the first time that researchers found a correlation between vitamin B12 deficiency and cognitive health.  In 2008, Oxford University scientists discovered a link between elevated levels of homocysteine (an indicator of low vitamin B12 levels) and brain shrinkage.  Homocysteine is an amino acid that increases your chances of developing heart disease and stroke.


As you get older, your body slows down, and stops producing  as many stomach acids.  Unfortunately, your body still needs stomach acids in order to digest essential vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin B12.  People who lack sufficient stomach acids- the elderly, people on strong heartburn medications- lack the ability to digest vitamin B12 naturally, and must receive vitamin B12 supplements in order to prevent vitamin deficiency.


Elderly Care

In order to detect vitamin B12 deficiency, doctors recommend that elderly individuals receive regular blood testing for homocysteine levels and active vitamin B12, particularly if they exhibit any symptoms of cognitive decline, such as short-term memory loss.  If diagnosed with vitamin B12 deficiency, then your doctor will prescribe vitamin B12 injections or sublingual vitamin B12.

For extra vitamin B12, or as an alternative to painful injections, a popular option is to supplement with over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12.

Related reading:

12 Ways to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

Ten Bites to Better Brain Power

Can Aerobics Cure Alzheimer’s Disease?

Feed your Brain Something You’ll never Forget


Low Vitamin B12 Level in Elderly May Spur Dementia

B12 shortage linked to cognitive problems

Low Vitamin B12 May Speed Brain Shrinkage

Brain and Body Shrink Before Alzheimer’s Sets In


C Jill Reed, Vince Alongi, sabertasche2

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