Hi all

Sorry if this had been asked many times but I don’t get chance to come on here all that often, but - is there a known link between anaemia and MS? My GP has just rung me to say that my recent blood test has come back showing anaemia and I have to go back. I have blood tests every month for rheumatoid arthritis monitoring but this is the first time in five years that a problem has been identified. I’ve been really ill since xmas when I had what I believe to be a bad relapse so something is definitely going on.

Thanks for reading Dianne

While pernicious anemia and MS affect different body systems are not related, there is a factor that is common to both of them: vitamin B12 deficiency.

In pernicious anemia, the body can’t make enough healthy red blood cells because it doesn’t have enough vitamin B12. The deficiency can come from malabsorption due to a lack of a specific protein or various problems in the intestinal tract, or lack of B12 in the diet.

In a different manifestation, B12 deficiency is one of the two great mimics of MS (Lyme disease being the other). B12 deficiency and MS share common inflammatory and neurodegenerative characteristics. The signs and symptoms of the two are so nearly identical (right down to demyelination and brain lesions) that telling them apart is sometimes difficult. B12 plays a role in the formation and maintenance of myelin, so a deficiency can lead to demyelination. But B12 deficiency is just a mimic, it isn’t MS.

However, this is where it gets more interesting and more complicated. Studies have shown a significantly higher rate of vitamin B12 deficiency in people with MS than in people without MS. Researchers suspect that MS somehow involves problems with the metabolism of B12 and that there may be some causal relationship between MS and B12 deficiency (that’s MS and B12, not MS and pernicious anemia). Time – and more research – will tell.

Hi JellyBean

Good lord, that’s interesting, I didn’t know any of that! Thanks for taking the time to reply, I am off to have more tests so will have to wait and see how this pans out. Take care Dianne x

I have had problems with anemia for years and it always means something underlying!!?? i have been ill with lots of differet symptoms for years and been tested for heaps. i havestarted to get joint pain the last cpl of months and my gp decided to order more bloods. My ANA test came back positive and very high and is looking like i may have a connective tissue disorder, anemia is a further sign looking at lupus, which can mimic ms!! i am waiting to see a rhumatologist and get more tests. maybe worth asking your gp to test you for lupus? 3 years ive been in limbo and now getting close to a dx!!??

Your very welcome Dianne.x