What Is Pernicious Anemia?

By james
Reviewed: Dr. Mera
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2. Autoimmune Condition

Our stomachs produce a protein that is known as intrinsic factor. This protein can bind vitamin B12 and allow its absorption in a part of the small intestine known as the ileum. The vitamin can then be taken to where it is needed to help make mature red blood cells. One cause of pernicious anemia is when a person’s immune system attacks the cells in the stomach that are responsible for creating intrinsic factor. This is accomplished by producing antibodies against gastric parietal cells. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system, to recognize and latch onto foreign pathogens in order to help remove them from the body (among other functions). In certain autoimmune conditions, like pernicious anemia, mistakenly the body can produce antibodies against its tissues.

Interestingly, strong associations exist between pernicious anemia and other autoimmune conditions like type I diabetes mellitus, some thyroid disorders, ulcerative colitis, and Addison disease.

Pernicious Anemia

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