Patients suspected of anemia are often subjected to initial diagnostic tests such as Complete Blood Count, hemoglobin tests, iron tests, and Ferritin tests (Semba et al., 2019). However, subsequent diagnostic laboratory tests such as Erythropoietin tests, Hematocrit test, Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy, and Reticulocytes test can be conducted as confirmatory tests for anemia.
According to Troilo, Grassi, and D'Elios (2019), pernicious anemic patients may have low levels of hemoglobin, small numbers of neutrophils and platelets in the blood, and red cell indices. Red indices mean that the average size of erythrocytes (Mean Corpuscular Volume, MCV) and Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH) is high with average corpuscular hemoglobin concentration. Moreover, blood smears show oval-shaped and abnormally large erythrocytes in blood.
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Non-pharmacological therapies for the treatment of pernicious anemia involve incorporation of foods fortified with vitamin B12 in the diet. Moreover, the doctor may advise a patient to include animal products such as eggs, meat (beef, bacon, pork, fish), and dairy products in their dietary plans to increase the concentration of vitamin B12 in the body.
Low concentration of Hemoglobin (Hb) in blood after a hemoglobin test and relatively smaller and paler erythrocytes after a blood smear test are indicative of iron deficiency anemia. Furthermore, increased red cell distribution width and low mean corpuscular hemoglobin are also suggestive findings of iron-deficiency anemia in patients.
If untreated, pernicious anemia may lead to more severe complications such as neural tube defects, infertility, stomach cancer, and neurological changes which may cause vision problems, memory loss, and poor coordination of muscles and limbs.
The Schilling test is a medical test used to evaluate how well a patient’s intestinal tract can absorb vitamin B12. A radioactively labeled vitamin B12 is administered orally to a patient, followed by a parental dose of nonradioactive vitamin then assaying the percentage of radioactivity in urine within 24 hours. If low urinary concentration becomes normal after intrinsic factor administration, then positive results for primary pernicious anemia are recorded (Troilo et al., 2019).
Semba, R. D., Ricks, M. O., Ferrucci, L., Xue, Q. L., Chaves, P., Fried, L. P., & Guralnik, J. M. (2019). Types of anemia and mortality among older disabled women living in the community: the Women’s Health and Aging Study I. Aging clinical and experimental research , 19 (4), 259-264.
Troilo, A., Grassi, A., & D'Elios, M. M. (2019). Intrinsic factor Recognition Promotes Th17/Th1 Autoimmune Gastric Inflammation in Patients with Pernicious Anemia.