What is pernicious anemia?

Updated: Feb 18, 2019
  • Author: Srikanth Nagalla, MD, MS, FACP; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

The term “pernicious anemia” is an anachronism—it dates from the era when treatment had not yet been discovered, and the disease was fatal—but it remains in use for megaloblastic anemia resulting from vitamin B12 deficiency due to lack of intrinsic factor (IF). [1] Impaired IF production can occur in adults due to autoimmune destruction of parietal cells, which secrete IF. Gastrectomy can significantly reduce the production of IF. A rare congenital autosomal recessive disorder can result in deficiency of IF without gastric atrophy.


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