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What is pernicious anemia?

Pernicious anemia occurs when the body cannot make red blood cells because it lacks adequate amounts of vitamin B12, a key component of the red blood cell building process. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin, which means we must eat it in order to use it; the problem in pernicious anemia typically lies in a B12 absorption issue in the stomach lining. If a person lacks a special enzyme called intrinsic factor, the B12 is not usable to the body, which in turn can affect red blood cell production. Testing for pernicious anemia includes a test for B12 and cofactor deficiency, in addition to low blood cells.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.