- Pernicious anemia is a condition caused by too
little vitamin B12 in the body. It is also called vitamin B12 deficiency
- Vitamin B12 helps the body make healthy red blood
cells and helps keep nerve cells healthy. It is found in animal foods,
including meat, fish, eggs, milk, and other dairy products.
- The most common cause of pernicious anemia is the
loss of stomach cells that make intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor helps the
body absorb vitamin B12 in the intestine. The loss of parietal cells may be due
to destruction by the bodys own immune system.
- Pernicious anemia can cause permanent damage to
nerves and other organs if it goes on for a long time without being treated. It
also raises the risk for developing stomach cancer.
- Common signs and symptoms of pernicious anemia
- Feeling tired and weak
- Tingling and numbness in hands and feet
- A bright red, smooth tongue
- Pernicious anemia is diagnosed using family
history and medical history, a physical exam, and diagnostic tests and
- Pernicious anemia is easy to treat with vitamin
B12 pills or shots as well as diet changes. Lifelong treatment is needed.
- Complications caused by untreated pernicious
anemia may be reversible with treatment.
- Doctors dont know how to prevent pernicious
anemia that is caused by the immune system destroying stomach cells.
- Eating foods high in vitamin B12 and folic acid
can help prevent vitamin B12 deficiency caused by a poor diet.
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