What is Pernicious Anemia?
(Symptoms, Causes & Treatment)
Pernicious anemia is a decrease in red blood cells that occurs when the intestines cannot properly absorb vitamin B12. Without enough vitamin B12, your red blood cells don’t divide normally and are too large. They may have trouble getting out of the bone marrow—a sponge-like tissue inside the bones where blood cells are made. The most common initial symptom is feeling tired. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, pale skin, chest pain, numbness in the hands and feet, poor balance, a smooth, red tongue, poor reflexes, and confusion.
Common causes of pernicious anemia include:
- Weakened stomach lining (atrophic gastritis)
- An autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the actual intrinsic factor protein or the cells in the lining of your stomach that make it.
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