Which Vitamin Deficiency Causes the Disease Pernicious Anemia?

Pernicious anemia is primarily caused by a deficiency of vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin. Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of red blood cells and the proper functioning of the nervous system. When there is a deficiency of vitamin B12, the body cannot produce enough healthy red blood cells, leading to pernicious anemia.

The term “pernicious” in pernicious anemia refers to the fact that it was historically considered a deadly, or “pernicious,” condition before the discovery of effective treatments. Pernicious anemia can have serious health consequences if left untreated, including fatigue, weakness, pale skin, neurological symptoms, and potential damage to the nervous system.

The most common cause of pernicious anemia is the lack of intrinsic factor, a protein produced by the stomach lining that is necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12 in the small intestine. Intrinsic factor deficiency can result from autoimmune conditions, chronic gastritis, or surgical removal of parts of the stomach.

Treatment for pernicious anemia typically involves vitamin B12 supplementation, often administered via injections, to bypass the impaired absorption in the digestive tract. This treatment helps correct the deficiency and alleviate the symptoms of the condition.