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Definition of PERNICIOUS ANEMIA
: a severe megaloblastic anemia that is marked by a progressive decrease in the number of red blood cells and by pallor, weakness, and gastrointestinal and nervous disturbances and is caused by malabsorption of vitamin B12 due to the absence of intrinsic factor
: a severe hyperchromic anemia marked by a progressive decrease in number and increase in size and hemoglobin content of the red blood cells and by pallor, weakness, and gastrointestinal and nervous disturbances and associated with reduced ability to absorb vitamin B12 due to the absence of intrinsic factor—called also addisonian anemia
Slow-developing disease in which vitamin B (seevitamin B complex) deficiency impairs red-blood-cell production. It can result from a diet lacking in vitamin B or when intrinsic factor, a substance needed for intestinal absorption of B, either is not produced by stomach cells or cannot bind to the vitamin. It causes weakness, waxy pallor, shiny tongue, and stomach, intestinal, and neurological problems. Its slow development can allow anemia to become very severe by the time of diagnosis. Monthly B injections into muscle soon reverses the anemia, but the injections must be continued for life.