Pernicious Anemia is an autoimmune disease that affects the parietal cells in the digestive track. These cells produce a protein that allows the body to absorb vitamin B12 efficiently. In Pernicious Anemia, the body’s immune system attacks these cells, which halts the production of the protein, which in turn makes the body unable to absorb B12 vitamin and causes a deficiency regardless of how much of the vitamin is ingested. Pernicious Anemia is specifically the deficiency of B12 vitamin due to this set of circumstances, not to be confused with the state of having a B12 deficiency in general, which is referred to as megaloblastic anemia. This is a fairly rare condition usually seen in those above the age of 50.
Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia
Usually, symptoms of Pernicious Anemia don’t show themselves until many years after the body is no longer absorbing B12 vitamin. At this point, the nervous system is affected and the red blood cell production has dropped significantly. Symptoms of Pernicious Anemia at this point can include depression, confusion or a negative effect on the memory, tingling sensations or loss of some feeling in hands, feet, and legs sometimes accompanied by spastic movement. Some may also see a development of color blindness, a sore tongue, weight loss, or skin darkening.
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