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YOUR PROBLEMS : Dear Miriam.

Byline: Miriam Stoppard

I'VE had a sore tongue on and off for the past few months. My doctor couldn't see any ulcers and the dentist said he knew nothing about tongues. The chemist says there's nothing she can give me.

My tongue is very smooth and I have cracks at the corners of my mouth. I'm finding it a terrible nuisance because my mouth fills up with saliva whenever I try to talk.

I'm becoming so self-conscious that I constantly feel around my mouth with my tongue, which I'm sure is making things worse.

ONE possibility is pernicious anaemia, which is caused by a failure to absorb vitamin B12, essential for normal red blood cell production in the bone marrow.

The first symptoms found most often are:

UNUSUAL tiredness, difficulty in breathing and dizziness.

A RED, irritated and possibly shiny tongue.

A DULLED sense of taste.

Ask your doctor to take a blood sample so your red blood cells can be analysed. If the blood test shows a low vitamin B12 count you may be given the Schilling test to measure the body's ability to absorb vitamin B12 from the bowel.

Then you'll have vitamin B12 injections every month and your blood count monitored.

Something else to consider is a fungal infection like thrush. In the circumstances it would be a sensible move to ask your doctor if pernicious anaemia and thrush have been ruled out.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 12, 2001
Words:236
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