Pernicious Anaemia is a difficult illness to understand so we’ve put together some Questions and Answers that will help you understand the condition.
Can young people get Pernicious Anaemia ?
Yes. Our youngest member joined when she was eleven months and her brother joined when he was four years old.
We simply don’t know what percentage of young people have the disease because the symptoms are often associated with other diseases. Canada has now started screening all new-borns for Vitamin B12 deficiency. Most of our members were diagnosed when in their forties.
Young people face all manner of problems if they have Pernicious Anaemia as it affects their social life and their school and college work. We have special leaflets written for young patients with Pernicious Anaemia and for the parents of children with Pernicious Anaemia.
I get tired in the afternoon at school. What can I do ?
Make sure that you tell an adult who should inform your teachers about your medical condition.
The school should be able to help you to study by changing the time of your lessons.
I have my injections but still feel tired. What can I do ?
You should tell an adult who should take you back to your doctor.
Your doctor may decide that you need more injections.
What does vitamin B12do? What else should I know?
It helps you to make healthy red blood cells.
Without Vitamin B12 you won’t have normal red blood cells. That’s why your injections are so important. When you have injections of B12 you once again produce healthy red blood cells.
What is Pernicious Anaemia ?
Most children will have in their tummy a substance called Intrinsic Factor. Intrinsic Factor extracts a very important vitamin from food that you have eaten. The important vitamin is Vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is found in fish, meat, butter, milk, cheese and eggs. No matter how much of these foods you eat you won’t be able to get the B12 from them because you don’t have the Intrinsic Factor that extracts the B12. That’s why you need to get B12 from somewhere else like injections or sprays.
Why do I feel tired ?
Healthy red blood cells carry oxygen around your body.
Oxygen is needed to make muscles work properly. Oxygen is also needed by the brain. Without enough healthy red blood cells you won’t have enough oxygen in your blood. Not enough oxygen means you will feel tired.
Why don’t I have Intrinsic Factor?
It could be that either you aren’t making any Intrinsic Factor or, more likely you make the Intrinsic Factor and then you destroy it by producing antibodies that kill off the intrinsic factor.
Doctors don’t yet know why your body would want to do this. There are other medical conditions where the body destroys things that it has made. These medical conditions are called auto-immune diseases.