The Pernicious Anaemia Society warned that the symptoms of the health condition develop slowly over many years, which can make the markers easy to dismiss. Neurological complications of pernicious anaemia can lead to parenthesis – an abnormal tingling sensation in the extremities of the body, such as the hands and feet. Alternatively, pernicious anaemia – which leads to low vitamin B12 levels – can cause reduced skin sensation, causing the hands and feet to become numb.
When the body is unable to hold onto stores of vitamin B12, the development of red blood cells – in the bone marrow – are affected.
Deformed red blood cells aren’t able to transport adequate supplies of oxygen around the body, hence why low B12 can be very dangerous.
The lack of healthy red blood cells is known as anaemia, which can lead to anaemia-like symptoms, such as:
- (Extreme) fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness/feeling faint/vertigo
- Postural hypotension (drop in blood pressure upon standing)
Gynaecological and urological symptoms might include:
- Loss of libido/impotence
- Menstrual problems/pains
- Cystitis, bladder inflammation, bladder infections
- Pyelonephritis (kidney infection).
Pernicious anaemia can also lead to gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhoea, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and glossitis.
Other symptoms might include:
- Sleep disturbance
- Hair loss/premature grey hair
- Brittle nails.
The easiest way to check your vitamin B12 levels is to have a blood test that has been arranged by your doctor.
You can simply request a blood test to check for vitamin B12 levels, which can lead to a diagnosis.
“PPIs inhibit the production of stomach acid, which is needed to release vitamin B12 from the food you eat,” the NHS explained.
Health conditions that affect the intestines, such as Crohn’s disease, can also lead to low vitamin B12 levels.
As can a gastrectomy, which is a surgical procedure that involves removing a part of the stomach.