Can you tell us a bit about your condition and how you were diagnosed?
My condition is Pernicious Anaemia and I was diagnosed after many years of battling with GPs. As I am a vegetarian it was assumed that my lack of iron was down to my diet but I was sure that it wasn't - I eat loads of foods with iron in. After feeling exhausted, despite being on iron tablets, for many years my new GP ordered a different blood test on a whim - to check my vitamin B12 levels. When the results came back I was actually in the negative for B12 and a normal range is 180+. Funnily enough it was a relief to finally have an answer as to what was making me struggle with my daily life!
Pernicious Anaemia is due to a malabsorption of B12 in the blood. B12 is what carries the iron around your body if you will. The symptoms vary from patient to patient but the main one is exhaustion.
How does your condition affect you on a daily basis?
I have vitamin B12 injections every 11 weeks. When I was first diagnosed I had them every day and then reduced down to every week and so forth. About 2 weeks before I am due my injection I am exhausted, short of breath, my brain is foggy and my bones hurt. They can't give me the injections any sooner as it isn't licensed in the U.K. I'm currently on Maternity Leave but when I was at work I would literally come home at 5/6pm and sleep straight through until the next day. That is another indication of Pernicious Anaemia - no matter how much you sleep you are always shattered.
Do you have any tips for someone who is newly diagnosed?
Take it easy, listen to your body! Unfortunately it is for life but there is medication available to help lessen your symptoms.
What is one thing that you would like people to remember about your condition?
I'm going to be cheeky and have two:
-Sleeping more will not "cure" me
-Nor will changing my diet