Pernicious Anemia: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Pernicious Anemia?

Pernicious Anemia is an autoimmune disorder in which the body cannot make enough red blood cells due to lack of vitamin B12. Insufficient red blood cells are unable to carry sufficient oxygen to your body so you feel tired and weak.

Pernicious anemia overview

Recovery Time

If you have pernicious anemia, you may need lifelong treatment. See your doctor regularly for check-ups and on-going care. Take vitamin B12 supplements as your doctor advises. This may help to prevent the symptoms and complications.


A Doctor will diagnose pernicious anemia based on your medical and family histories, a physical exam, and test results.
  • Complete Blood Count
  • Reticulocyte Count
  • Serum folate, iron, and iron-binding capacity tests
  • Bone Marrow Tests
  • Vitamin B12 level
Diagnosis of PA

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  What are the complications?
People with pernicious anemia may have gastric polyps, and they are at increased risk for gastric cancer and gastric carcinoid tumors. Brain and nervous system (neurological) problems may continue if treatment is delayed.
Q2.  What is an intrinsic factor?
  • Whenever you eat foods that contain vitamin B12- protein foods  your digestive system produces a chemical called intrinsic factor that grabs the B12 from your stomach, carries it through the small intestine, and delivers it to the ileum, where the vitamin B12 is then absorbed and dispersed into your bloodstream. That is how most people digest vitamin B12.
  • People who suffer from pernicious anemia, a deficiency in vitamin B12, are usually not able to manufacture intrinsic factor. Even if they eat a strict high-protein diet rich in vitamin B12, the B12 will pass through the intestines without ever reaching the bloodstream, causing symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Q3.  Is Pernicious anemia genetic?
Yes Family history is one of many causes of pernicious anemia. If your family has a history of suffering from pernicious anemia, then you should take routine blood tests for vitamin B12 deficiency throughout your life.

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