Pernicious anemia - Symptom
Macrocytic achylic anemia; Congenital pernicious anemia; Juvenile pernicious anemia; Vitamin B12 deficiency (malabsorption)
People with mild anemia may have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. More typical symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia include:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Fatigue, lack of energy, or light-headedness when standing up or with exertion
- Loss of appetite
- Pale skin
- Problems concentrating
- Shortness of breath, mostly during exercise
- Swollen, red tongue or bleeding gums
- Nerve damage caused by vitamin B12 deficiency that has been present for a longer time may cause:
- Confusion or change in mental status (dementia) in severe or advanced cases
- Loss of balance
- Numbness and tingling of hands and feet
Signs and tests:
Tests that may used to diagnose or monitor pernicious anemia include:
Pernicious anemia may also affect the results of the following tests:
Vitamin B12 deficiency affects the appearance of cells that form on the outer surface of the body and line inner passageways (epithelial cells). An untreated woman may have a false positive Pap smear.
- Reviewed last on: 2/1/2010
- David Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Antony AC. Megaloblastic anemias. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Shattil SS, et al., eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 39.
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