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Pernicious Anemia Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Pernicious anemia (PA) is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body's immune system, which is meant to defend the body against bacteria, viruses, and any other foreign product, malfunctions and produces antibodies against healthy tissue, cells and organs. PA occurs as a result of autoimmune gastritis which results in the destruction of lining of the stomach. The autoimmune process is limited to the body of the stomach and causes disappearance of some of the stomach tissue. The gastric atrophy (disappearance of tissue) is caused by chronic inflammation from the autoimmune attack on the lining of the stomach and precedes the development of PA by many years. Because the stomach is damaged, B12 cannot be adequately absorbed.

PA has been observed to cluster in families. The common symptoms of PA are: weakness, especially in arms and legs, sore tongue, nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss, bleeding gums, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, difficulty with balance, pale lips,, tongue and gums, yellow sclera (eyes) and skin, shortness of breath, depression, confusion and dementia, headache, and poor memory.

The proper treatment of PA is subcutaneous injection of vitamin B12. This can be carried out at home by the patient.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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