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What are symptoms of pernicious anemia?

Pernicious anemia, like any anemia, can present itself with generalized weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches or exercise intolerance. Because the cause of pernicious anemia involves a deficiency of vitamin B12, in advanced cases some people may experience some of the symptoms caused by low B12 levels. These symptoms can include extremity numbness and tingling, balance issues or dizziness, and sometimes memory deficiencies. These can only be associated with the anemia if lab tests are consistent and other possible causes are ruled out.
Untreated B12 deficiency can have a variety of consequences, including pernicious anemia, a condition in which your body is unable to produce enough red blood cells. In older people, the first symptoms of pernicious anemia are often confusion, slowness, irritability, and apathy. Peripheral neuropathy -- numbness and tingling in the feet and hands that grow progressively worse -- is also a common symptom. However, B12 injections, if started early, can remedy these symptoms.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.