Newest Review: ... be due to an immune system reaction where cells in the stomach are destroyed. In very rare cases, intrinsic factor can be missing at birth.... more
It can't be cured by spinach and it could kill you
Member Name: iolaus
Advantages: Treatment is available
Disadvantages: It can be fatal and as it's rare it's often not picked up
When most people think of anaemia they think of a lack of iron, cured by diet or maybe pills. However pernicious anaemia is different - your body kills off the B12 you eat so diet won't cure it and without treatment it is fatal.
I knew something was wrong with me and had been back and forward for about a year to my GP saying that I felt tired all the time and I thought I was anaemic. I was taking iron supplements and my iron levels were ok, within normal but at the low end. Various other tests were done but no one thought to test my B12 levels (in retrospect I know this is because of my age - normally Pernicious Anaemia only occurs in pensioners and I was in my 20s)
Looking back I had so many of the symptoms, tiredness (I was having to nap nearly every day and still felt tired) shortness of breath on any exertion, palpitations, nearly fainting, lack of taste, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), paleness, bloated (I looked pregnant at times), weight loss, my nails broke at everything, pins and needles frequently. Then I saw one GP who suggested testing for PA, however before I got the results I collapsed and ended up in hospital as my B12 had got so dangerous low that it caused my bone marrow to shut down. I ended up with several blood transfusions before starting the usual treatment for PA in the UK- hydroxycobalamin. For the first week I had injections every other day and am currently on 3 monthly injections for life.
Life is better now the treatment has started but they don't last long enough so I'm arguing for 2 monthly injections (despite the fact that they sting like crazy)
If you feel this may be describing how you feel then please get treated, I was lucky I collapsed when I did and that I survived, had it gone on for a few weeks more I would have got to the point of no return
Summary: A potentially fatal form of anaemia, requiring treatment for life