Pernicious Anaemia Society
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Help Diagnosing

Hi, I was wondering if someone could tell me if I am able to find out if I have Pernicious Anemia from a full blood count?

I have had a FBC done and if it is possible to tell from this if I have PA, can someone tell me what parts of my FBC they would need to know to be able to diagnose?

I have tried to google this information but no luck finding figures and if this is even possible, thanks

4 Replies

No, a full blood count can't tell you if you have PA.

it can tell you if you have macrocytic anaemia. This is where your red blood cells are larger than normal. The main indicator of this would be the Mean Cell Volume (MCV). Anything between about 80 and 100 fL* per cell is normal. More than 100 fL per cell is an indicator of macrocytic anaemia.

A deficiency of vitamin B12 is one possible cause of macrocytic anaemia, and pernicious anaemia is one possible cause of a B12 deficiency.

Also, around 80% of people with PA don't have large red cells.

*one fL is one thousandth of a millionth of a millionth of a litre.


I have read that if you also have iron deficiency this may mask macrocytosis (iron deficiency may lead to microcytic cells)


Hi Rachel-285 you wrote previously "My thyroid test came back normal and so did my B12 and folate test, but when I requested to see my results my B12 is 206 and my Serum Folate is 5.3 and I believe this is low?" and as has been commented on your B12 is "on the low side" as is your folate - although of course they are both "within range".

I am not a medically qualified person but am interested to know something about your lifestyle e.g. diet, levels of activity etc.

On page 23 in the book “Could it be B12? – an epidemic of misdiagnoses” by Sally M. Pacholok R.N., B.S.N. & Jeffrey J. Stuart, D.O. there is a list showing:-

Who’s at greatest risk for B12 Deficiency?

Anyone at any age, can become B12 deficient. Thus you need to be tested immediately if you develop the symptoms described in this chapter. However, certain people are at an elevated risk. They include the following:

Vegetarians, vegans and people eating macrobiotic diets.

People aged sixty and over

People who’ve undergone any gastric and/or intestinal surgery, including bariatric surgery for weight loss purposes (Gastric bypass).

People who regularly use proton-pump- inhibitors. H2 blockers, antacids, Metformin, and related diabetes drugs, or other medications that can interfere with B12 absorption.

People who undergo surgeries or dental procedures involving nitrous oxide, or who use the drug recreationally.

People with a history of eating disorders (anorexia or bulimia).

People with a history of alcoholism.

People with a family history of pernicious anaemia.

People diagnosed with anaemia (including iron deficiency anaemia, sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia).

People with Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gluten enteropathy (celiac disease), or any other disease that cause malabsorption of nutrients.

People with autoimmune disorders (especially thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Grave’s disease) Type 1 diabetes, vitiligo, lupus, Addison’s disease, ulcerative colitis, infertility, acquired agammaglobulinemia, or a family history of these disorders.

Women with a history of infertility or multiple miscarriages.

Infants born to and/or breast fed by women who are symptomatic or are at risk for B12 deficiency.

Can you identify with any of the above possible causes for your low B12?

I wish you well

1 like

Hi, sorry for my late reply but non of the above apply to me, although I am unaware of any family history but am assuming not.



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