PLEASE NOTE THIS TEST IS BEING DISCONTINUED AT THE END OF APRIL
Anaemia means that:
- You have fewer red blood cells than normal, OR
- You have less haemoglobin than normal in each red blood cell.
In either case, a reduced amount of oxygen is carried around in the bloodstream. There are a number of different causes of anaemia (such as lack of iron or certain vitamins).
Vitamin B12 is essential for life. It is needed to make new cells in the body such as the many new red blood cells which are made every day. Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs, and milk - but not in fruit or vegetables. A normal balanced diet contains enough vitamin B12. A lack of vitamin B12 leads to anaemia and sometimes to other problems.
What are the Symptoms?
- Fatigue, tiredness, lethargy, hypotension, tachycardia, shortness of breath, feeling faint, cognitive impairment, diarrhoea, pins and needles, jaundice, headaches, palpitations, altered taste, being off your food, tinnitus, swollen tongue, personality or memory changes, looking pale
Why Test for anaemia?
Pernicious Anaemia causes the heart to work harder to get enough oxygen to the body's organs and tissues. This stress on the heart can cause heart murmurs, fast or irregular heartbeats, an enlarged heart, or even heart failure. If left undiagnosed and untreated, PA can also damage the nervous system and has also been associated with cancer of the stomach.
How do you test for Pernicious anaemia?
We perform an ELISA test to detect both types of autoimmune IgG intrinsic factor antibodies. The determination of serum levels of anti-IF antibodies provides a means to differentiate between autoimmune pernicious anaemia, non-autoimmune pernicious anaemia (e.g. atrophic gastritis and pancreatic exocrine insufficiency) and other forms of vitamin B12 related anaemia.
If your results show a lack of Intrinsic Factor then you must discuss your results with your GP who will prescribe the appropriate treatment. A complete recovery is usually achievable by vitamin B12 injection which is usually given once a month, thus bypassing any intrinsic factor problems and the need for gastrointestinal absorption altogether. Often the patient can learn to do this at home with the same type syringes and needles used for insulin treatment of diabetes.
Sample requirements &, test turnaround
The test requires just a pin-prick blood sample. Results are available within 10 working days.