Pernicious anemia (PA) is the final stage of autoimmune gastritis and characterized by vitamin B12 deficiency.1 Its definitive diagnosis is important because the patients need lifelong parenteral vitamin B12 treatment.2
Most cases result from the lack of intrinsic factor, without which vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed.
The symptoms of pernicious anemia may include weakness, fatigue, an upset stomach, an abnormally rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), and/or chest pains. Recurring episodes of anemia (megaloblastic) and an abnormal yellow coloration of the skin (jaundice) are also common. Pernicious anemia is thought to be an autoimmune disorder, and certain people may have a genetic predisposition to this disorder. Symptoms of pernicious anemia may include fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, jaundice or pallor, tingling and numbness of hands and feet, loss of appetite, diarrhea, unsteadiness when walking, bleeding gums, impaired sense of smell, and confusion. 4