Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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B12 Deficiency Overview

Another name for B12 Deficiency is Pernicious Anemia.

What is pernicious anemia?
A person with pernicious anemia has a reduced number of red blood cells in the bloodstream, due to a lack of vitamin B-12. Pernicious anemia is caused by decreased levels of intrinsic factor, which is an enzyme that helps the body absorb vitamin B-12. The average age of onset for pernicious anemia is 60 years.

What are the symptoms of pernicious anemia?
Symptoms of pernicious anemia include dizziness, faintness, fatigue, pale skin, palpitations, tingling of the hands, tongue swelling, weight loss, and difficulty breathing with exertion. Additional symptoms may include confusion and loss of balance or coordination.

How does the doctor treat pernicious anemia?
Treatment for pernicious anemia includes vitamin B supplements and a healthy diet.

Continue to B12 Deficiency Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed B12 Deficiency References
  1. Carmel R. Prevalence of undiagnosed pernicious anemia in the elderly. Arch Intern Med. 1996 May 27;156(10):1097-100. [8638997]
  2. Lederle FA. Oral cobalamin for pernicious anemia: back from the verge of extinction. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1998 Sep;46(9):1125-7. [9736106]
  3. Wickramasinghe SN. The wide spectrum and unresolved issues of megaloblastic anemia. Semin Hematol. 1999 Jan;36(1):3-18. [9930565]
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