Information on Anemia
Anemia is a condition in which blood does not have enough of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein containing iron and is a constituent part of the red blood cells, erythrocytes, which carries the oxygen to all of the body tissues. Anemia is more often said to be a condition when body does not have enough of red blood cells. Red blood cells decrease in number when the body is deficient in vitamin B12, which is termed pernicious anemia. Pernicious anemia is also known by the names of Addison's anemia, B12 deficiency, combined system disease. Whatever the name, the pernicious anemia affects a great number of people regardless of their age or gender. Yet, there are some theories that claim the anemia is common among the people of Northern Europe or those with fair hair and complexion. Anemia can be passed on genetically. Autoimmune disease, endocrine gland dysfunctions are also said to be contributory to anemia.
Symptoms and Causes
The inability of the gastrointestinal tract to absorb the vitamin B12 causes the pernicious anemia. Intrinsic factor that is released by the stomach layer is responsible for the absorption of vitamin B12. From the small intestines where intrinsic factor bounds vitamin B12 to itself, the complex of the vitamin and intrinsic factor then move to the most distant part of the small intestines called ileum. The binding of the vitamin B 12 to intrinsic factor facilitates the absorption during the digestion. Some medical conditions or surgery may impair the small intestines, particularly ileum and thus result in the inability of the small intestines to absorb the vitamin B12. The child with the parents with pernicious anemia lacking the intrinsic factor genetically get this condition and are likely to be born with it. Pernicious anemia is sometimes associated with the inflammation of the pancreas, some absorption disorders, Addison's disease or with the overactive thyroid gland. Endocrine disorders when parathyroid gland does not produce enough hormones can also be the cause of pernicious anemia.
The symptoms of pernicious anemia develop gradually and are similar in some ways to the classic anemia. Affected people are usually pale, their heart beatings are fast and irregular and experience shallow breathing. Neurological symptoms are the feeling of numbness, weakness and emotional or mental changes. A person is likely to feel depressed, agitated, his memory is impaired and sometimes lacks coordination and balance. A severe and untreated deficiency may result in impaired motor or sensory feelings in the extremities, heart-related problems and urinary incontinence. A woman who has not treated pernicious anemia may have changes in the epithelial cells that lines the cervix, and thus the medical examinations of the cervix may be misinterpreted. Pernicious anemia may also cause the gastric problems, lead to polyps, ulcers and eventually cancers.
Pernicious anemia is a curable health condition. A person is given medications to increase the vitamin B 12 in the body.