Pernicious anaemia can occur due to a weakened stomach lining (atrophic gastritis) or an acquired autoimmune condition. Who is at most risk? People of Scandinavian or Northern European descent are more likely to develop pernicious anaemia, said Medline Plus. Certain health condition can also raise a person’s risk, such as an underactive thyroid, type 1 diabetes, or celiac disease.
When pernicious anaemia is acquired by an autoimmune condition, the immune system attacks healthy stomach cells.
The stomach cells are responsible for creating a protein called intrinsic factor.
This protein binds with vitamin B12 – found in eggs, beef, and yoghurt – in the gut.
When intrinsic factor binds to vitamin B12, the nutrient is able to be reabsorbed into the body while digestion takes place.
After a while, the body starts to show signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
For instance, Harvard Medical School pointed out that a lack of vitamin B12 can lead to numbness or tingling in the legs.
Another warning sign is when a person begins to experience walking difficulties, such as staggering or struggling to balance.
Other signs of pernicious anaemia might include fatigue, weakness, cognitive difficulties, memory loss, and/or an inflamed tongue.
If you’re concerned that you might have the condition, you can request a blood test from your doctor.
Make sure to communicate that you want your vitamin B12 levels measured.
Should the results come back that you are indeed lacking vitamin B12, your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you.
Be mindful that the condition might need treatment for the rest of your life.