Pernicious anemia is the medical term for a disorder marked by the body’s inability to produce enough healthy red blood cells caused by the vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is a very important nutrient that can be found in certain foods. In order to maintain the proper function of the nervous system, the body needs the vitamin B12 so as to produce enough amounts of red blood cells. The people who suffer from pernicious anemia are not able to absorb vitamin B12 from the foods because of a protein deficiency. This protein is called intrinsic factor and it is produced in the stomach. Due to all this, there is vitamin B12 deficiency in the body.
Vitamin B12 deficiency may be induced by the several others factor or medical conditions, such as certain infection, medications, surgery and, of course, diet. In the majority of cases, pernicious anemia is regarded to be only B12 deficiency which is caused because of the lack of the intrinsic factor. However, many experts in pernicious anemia include all types of vitamin B12 deficiency which happen due to other causes. The main symptoms of this condition are tiredness, weakness and exhaustion because of the lack of oxygen and it must be treated promptly, because if left untreated, it may cause serious complications to the heart and brain. Nerve damage, loss of memory and stomach cancer are also some of the complications that may be caused by pernicious anemia.
Causes of pernicious anemia
The main cause of pernicious anemia is the lack of intrinsic factor, but the potential causes are also infections, drugs, diet and surgery. Pernicious anemia is a result of a lack of intrinsic factor or other causes, such as infections, surgery, medicines, or diet. Intrinsic factor is a protein created in the stomach that has the role to absorb the vitamin B12. The deficiency of this protein occurs owing to the body’s an autoimmune response, which means that the immune system produces antibodies that attack the body’s health cells and tissues by mistake. When pernicious anemia is in the question, the immune system produces the antibodies that attack the cells in the lining of the stomach, which produce intrinsic factor. These cells are known under the name the parietal cells. It has not been discovered yet why this occurs. The intrinsic factor deficiency may occur even when the part of the stomach is removed in a surgery. Moreover, although rarely, it happens that children are born with congenital pernicious anemia. It is an inherited disorder that prevents their body from creating intrinsic factor.