Institute, you are at a higher risk for pernicious anemia, if you: Have a family history of the condition Have had part or all your stomach surgically removed-your stomach make intrinsic factor which helps your body absorb vitamin B12

Anemia is a condition where the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells are a type of blood cell that helps transport oxygen to the cells, tissues and the organs. There are many causes of anemia including intrinsic factor deficiency (IF). Intrinsic factor is a protein that helps our intestine absorb vitamin B12, which is important in the formation and growth of red blood cells. Intrinsic factor deficiency leads to a condition called pernicious anemia. According to the U.S Department of Health & Human Services and National Institute of Health, intrinsic factor deficiency is a rare condition that is characterized by pernicious anemia and neurological abnormalities. Pernicious anemia is a type of megaloblastic anemia and is caused vitamin B12 deficiency, which is often associated with the end stage of type A chronic atrophic (autoimmune) gastritis (McCance & Huether 2019). This condition is mainly caused by vitamin B12 deficiency and vitamin B12 deficiency is caused by lack of intrinsic factor which helps the body use Vitamin B12. Intrinsic factor is produced by gastric parietal cells and any condition that affects the secretion of intrinsic factor leads to vitamin B12. Deficiency in intrinsic factor secretion may be congenital; however, it is often considered an autoimmune (and possible innate) process directed against gastric parietal cells (McCance & Huether 2019). Some of risk factors for pernicious anemia includes being an older person, 60 years plus. 60 years of age is the median at the time of diagnosis. According to National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, you are at a higher risk for pernicious anemia, if you: Have a family history of the condition Have had part or all your stomach surgically removed-your stomach make intrinsic factor which helps your body absorb vitamin B12 Have an autoimmune disorder that involves the endocrine glands, such as Addison’s disease, type 1 diabetes, Graves’ disease, or vitiligo. Pernicious anemia is also more common in people of Northern European and African descent than in other ethnic groups. Pernicious anemia progresses very slowly, and signs and symptoms are vague and usually ignored. Because of the slow onset of symptoms, PA is usually severe by the time the individual seeks treatment (McCance & Huether 2019). The signs and symptoms of pernicious anemia is non specific and vague early on the condition and patients ignore them. Early symptoms are often ignored because they are non-specific and vague and include infections, mood swings, and gastrointestinal, cardiac or kidney ailments (McCance & Huether 2019). According National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia may lead to nerve damage and can cause tingling and numbness in your hands and feet, muscle weakness, and loss of reflexes. Like any other type of anemia, you may also feel tiredness, pale skin, shiny or smooth, red tongue, poor coordination, chest pain and confusion. Once the patient is diagnosed with pernicious anemia; the treatment of choice is the replacement of vitamin B12. Replacement of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is the treatment of choice and initial injections of vitamin B12 are administered weekly until the deficiency is corrected, followed by monthly injections for the reminder of the individual’s life (McCance & Huether 2019). Intramuscular injections are the best way to administer the vitamin B12, since the stomach don’t produce intrinsic factor to help the digestion of vitamin B12 if administered orally. References Intrinsic factor deficiency. (2016, January 19). Retrieved from https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/3024/intrinsic-factor-deficiency McCance, K., &

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