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Posts Tagged ‘oxygen and vitamin B12’

Is Pernicious Anemia Megaloblastic?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013



Pernicious anemia is a type of megaloblastic anemia that occurs with severe vitamin B12 deficiency. To find the right treatment and understand symptoms of fatigue, depression, and chronic pain, it helps to understand how pernicious anemia impairs your red blood cells and what you can do for prevention.

Is Pernicious Anemia Megaloblastic?

Megaloblastic anemia

There are several types of anemia, and they are usually classified by the way they impair red blood cells in size and shape. Specifically, megaloblastic anemia is a blood disorder in which red blood cells called megaloblasts become too large to function properly, resulting in fewer healthy red blood cells needed to deliver oxygen throughout your body; symptoms of memory loss, extreme fatigue, dizziness, and agitation occur when your vital organs and tissues don’t receive enough oxygen.

Quick facts:

  • With megaloblastic anemia, your body starts producing red blood cells that are overlarge, misshapen, and poorly developed.
  • New red blood cells do not mature- they die before their life expectancy.
  • Healthy red blood cells become replaced by these distorted megaloblasts.
  • Bone marrow starts producing fewer red blood cells.
  • Your body starts receiving less oxygen, causing a breakdown in various bodily functions of the organs, tissues, and nervous system.

Pernicious anemia

Pernicious anemia is a type of megaloblastic anemia caused by vitamin B12 malabsorption, the inability to digest vitamin B12 found in meat, fish, dairy, and egg products. Since vitamin B12 is crucial for healthy red blood cell production, long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can progress into severe pernicious anemia, a once-fatal condition that is now prevented through vitamin B12 supplementation.

Pernicious Anemia and B12 Deficiency- Historically Fatal, Still Formidable

Quick facts:

  • Pernicious anemia occurs with vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Pernicious anemia used to be fatal, until scientists discovered that symptoms could be cured with vitamin B12 supplementation.
  • Foods richest in vitamin B12 are seafood and organ meats.
  • Even if you eat plenty of beef, chicken, and fish, you may still have vitamin B12 deficiency through lack of intrinsic factor, an enzyme needed to digest and absorb vitamin B12.
  • Pernicious anemia is one type of megaloblastic anemia; another type occurs with folic acid deficiency.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency is Type of Anemia: True or False?

Please tell us…

Have you been diagnosed with pernicious anemia or another type of megaloblastic anemia? If so, what kind of vitamin B12 supplements do you use- vitamin B12 shots or over-the-counter vitamin B12?

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

Share with your friends!

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Like this? Read more:

What are the Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia- B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: The Invisible Epidemic!

Getting Enough Vitamin B12? Three Reasons Why You Might Not Be

Image courtesy of Genista/flickr

What is the Link Between Megaloblastic Anemia and Vitamin B12?

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Megaloblastic anemia is caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Megaloblastic anemia is a blood disorder. The symptoms include weakness, fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath and cold hands and feet. A person with this disorder may have headaches as well.

Megaloblastic anemia is caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency.  Unfortunately, the symptoms are identical to iron-deficiency anemia.  Many doctors test for iron deficiency, but don’t test for a vitamin B12 deficiency.  If an anemic person does not feel better after taking iron supplements, that person should have his/her vitamin B12 levels tested.

Blood carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. In a person who is anemic, there are fewer red blood cells, which are responsible for attaching themselves to oxygen and transporting this throughout the body. Oxygen is vital for energy production. Without sufficient red blood cells, a person becomes depleted of his/her stores of oxygen and feels tired.

If megaloblastic anemia is not treated with sufficient vitamin B12 supplementation, eventually the nerves start to degenerate and neuropathy sets in.

Proper treatment for megaloblastic anemia includes vitamin B12 and folic acid. Folic acid is found in green, leafy vegetables. Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. Our stomachs produce pepsin and intrinsic factor, which attach themselves to the vitamin B12. Some people don’t produce enough of  the pepsin or the intrinsic factor, and therefore cannot absorb the vitamin B12 from their food. These people need to supplement their diets with vitamin B12.

Vegetarians and vegans avoid the foods that are rich in vitamin B12, so they need to supplement their diets with vitamin B12 to prevent megaloblastic anemia.

There are reports of people who were suffering from megaloblastic anemia and nearly died as a result because it went untreated. Many doctors confuse the signs and symptoms of this disorder with iron-deficiency anemia. If you know someone who is suffering from fatigue or neuropathy, tell him to have his blood B12 levels tested immediately.

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