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Pernicious anemia

Pernicious anemia: Introduction

Pernicious anemia is one form of anemia, an abnormal condition in which there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells in the blood. Pernicious anemia is caused by a lack of vitamin B12, which is vital to the normal develoment of red blood cells.

Pernicious anemia is also called vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, and is the most common form of a variety of types of vitamin deficiency anemias. Pernicious anemia can be serious, even life-threatening, if untreated.

Vitamin B12 is crucial to the process of producing red blood cells in the body. Vitamin B12 is ingested into the body by eating certain foods, including lean red meats, poultry, fish, and dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. In some cases, pernicious anemia can occur when a person does not eat enough foods that contain vitamin B12, such as someone who follows a vegan diet.

More often pernicious anemia occurs when the body is unable to absorb vitamin B12 from ingested foods. Problems with the absorption of vitamin B12 can occur due to conditions that affect the absorption of the vitamin in the small intestine, such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease, or surgical removal of a portion of the small intestine.

Most often, the conditions is caused by a lack of intrinsic factor, a protein substance that is produced by the stomach and is necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12 in the small intestine. A lack of intrinsic factor can be due to a surgical procedure that removes all or part of the stomach. It may also be caused by an autoimmune response that destroys intrinsic factor or the stomach cells that produce intrinsic factor. Less often, some people may be born with an inherited inability to make enough intrinsic factor.

Symptoms of pernicious anemia are due to a lack of adequate numbers of red blood cells in the bloodstream. Symptoms can also occur in the nervous system related to the lack of vitamin B12 itself. For more details on symptoms, see symptoms of pernicious anemia.

A diagnosis of pernicious anemia begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and a physical examination. Diagnostic tests include a complete blood count (CBC), which measures the numbers of the different types of blood cells in the blood. A serum vitamin B12 level measures levels of the vitamin in the blood. Additional blood tests may be performed, and a bone marrow examination may also be done to confirm a suspected diagnosis of the pernicious anemia. In addition, tests will be performed to determine the cause of pernicious anemia, including diseases that can underlie pernicious anemia.

Because the symptoms and presentation of pernicious anemia can be vague and/or similar to some other conditions, a delayed or missed diagnosis of the condition is possible. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of pernicious anemia.

Pernicious anemia can usually be treated successfully, and most people have a good prognosis. Treatment of pernicious anemia is tailored to the individual case, the cause, and the presence of any underlying diseases or complications. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of pernicious anemia....more »

Pernicious anemia: Misdiagnosis

It is possible for a diagnosis of pernicious anemia to be delayed or missed. This is because some symptoms, such as fatigue, pale skin, headache, and cold hands and feet, can be vague, easily overlooked, or attributed to relatively benign conditions, such as a lack of sun or aging.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency, which causes pernicious anemia, can also be easily mistaken for symptoms of ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Pernicious anemia:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Pernicious anemia. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Pernicious anemia: Causes | Symptom Checker »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Pernicious anemia

Home medical tests possibly related to Pernicious anemia:

Causes of Types of Pernicious anemia:

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Pernicious anemia: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Pernicious anemia, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

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Pernicious anemia Treatments

The first step in the treatment of pernicious anemia is prevention. Many types of pernicious anemias cannot be prevented. However, it is important to eat a diet that includes a sufficient amount of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 found in lean red meats, poultry, fish, and dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Taking supplements that contain vitamin B12 may also be ...Pernicious anemia Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Pernicious anemia may include:

Review further information on Pernicious anemia Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Pernicious anemia

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Pernicious anemia may include:

Stories from Users for Pernicious anemia

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Pernicious anemia: Animations

Pernicious anemia: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Pernicious anemia may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

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Causes of Similar Symptoms to Pernicious anemia

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Pernicious anemia:

Pernicious anemia: Deaths

Read more about causes and Pernicious anemia deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Pernicious anemia

Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, more »

Cluster of diseases with difficult diagnosis issues: There is a well-known list of medical conditions that are all somewhat difficult to diagnose, and all more »

Rare type of breast cancer without a lump: There is a less common form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. Its symptoms can be an inflammation of more »

Pituitary conditions often undiagnosed cause of symptoms: There are a variety of symptoms that can be caused by a pituitary disorder (see symptoms of pituitary disorders). For example, fatigue, headache, weight gain, more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See symptoms of more »

Pernicious anemia: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Pernicious anemia

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Pernicious anemia: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Pernicious anemia: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Definitions of Pernicious anemia:

Anemia due to poor intestinal absorption of vitamin B12 caused by defective production of intrinsic factor (a carrier protein) by the gastric mucosa.
- (Source - Diseases Database)

A chronic progressive anemia of older adults; thought to result from a lack of intrinsic factor (a substance secreted by the stomach that is responsible for the absorption of vitamin B12)
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Anemia due to poor intestinal absorption of vitamin B12 caused by defective production of intrinsic factor (a carrier protein) by the gastric mucosa.
- (Source - CRISP)

A type of anemia (low red blood cell count) caused by the body's inability to absorb vitamin B12.
- (Source - National Cancer Institute)

Detailed list of causes of Pernicious anemia

The list below shows some of the causes of Pernicious anemia mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Pernicious anemia?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Pernicious anemia. Of the 24 causes of Pernicious anemia that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 0 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 3 causes are "common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 0 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 0 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 22 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Pernicious anemia:

The following list of conditions have 'Pernicious anemia' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

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Conditions listing medical complications: Pernicious anemia:

The following list of medical conditions have Pernicious anemia or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.


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What are the alternative names for Pernicious anemia:

Pernicious anaemia, Biermer's anaemia
- (Source - Diseases Database)

Classifications of Pernicious anemia:

Medical Conditions associated with Pernicious anemia:

Anemia (926 causes), Blood symptoms (2297 causes), Red blood cell symptoms (891 causes), Abnormal blood test symptoms (1538 causes)

Symptoms related to Pernicious anemia:

Anemia (926 causes), Pallor (536 causes), White skin (69 causes), Peripheral neuropathy (299 causes), Diabetes mellitus (66 causes), Vitamin B12 deficiency, Subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord, Intrincic factor, Gastritis (39 causes), Autoimmune diseases

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