Pernicious Anemia (Vitamin B-12 Deficiency) (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Pernicious Anemia Symptoms
Because the body has large stores of vitamin B-12, a deficiency takes many years to establish so symptoms only develop after years of poor absorption of dietary vitamin B-12.
Symptoms relating to the effects of vitamin B-12 deficiency on the nervous system may appear before symptoms related to the anemia. These symptoms may be vague and nonspecific, especially at the outset. Feelings of numbness, tingling, weakness, lack of coordination, clumsiness, impaired memory, and personality changes may be apparent. The legs are typically more affected than the arms, and usually both sides of the body are affected. When the deficiency is severe, symptoms can worsen, leading to severe weakness, spasticity, paraplegia, and fecal and urinary incontinence.
Importantly, not all people who have vitamin B-12 deficiency and neurological symptoms will have anemia. However, when anemia is present, the typical symptoms of anemia may occur. When red blood cell numbers are reduced from anemia, the heart has to work harder to pump blood to get enough oxygen to the body's tissues. This stress on the heart can cause heart murmurs (an extra or unusual sound heard during the heartbeat), fast or irregular heartbeats, an enlarged heart, or even heart failure. Shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, and pale skin are other symptoms of anemia.
A deficiency of vitamin B-12 can also alter the surface of the tongue, making it appear shiny or smooth.
In some cases, pernicious anemia may be present and not cause any symptoms. In this situation, it is usually found incidentally when blood tests are ordered for another reason.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/31/2014
Must Read Articles Related to Pernicious Anemia (Vitamin B-12 Deficiency)
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Pernicious Anemia (Vitamin B-12 Deficiency):
Pernicious Anemia - Symptoms
What symptoms did you experience from pernicious anemia (vitamin B-12 deficiency).
Pernicious Anemia - Treatment
What was the underlying condition that caused your pernicious anemia and what treatment did your doctor prescribe?
- How Is Atrial Fibrillation Affecting You?
- Will Health Reform Affect You?
- How to Save Money on Health Care
- How Well Are You Living With AFib?
- How Well Are You Managing Your MS?
- Soothe Your Child's Cold or Flu