Pernicious Anemia

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Anemia is a disorder of the blood. It occurs when your body does not produce enough erythrocytes or red blood cells (RBCs). Without the erythrocytes oxygen can not be adequately delivered to the tissues and organs throughout the body. This will cause you to become weak and tired. A person may also experience headaches, skin pallor, and faintness. Your body may attempt to compensate for these symptoms by speeding up the heart rate and respiratory rate. This is the body’s attempt to return oxygen levels to normal(Thibodeau and Patton, 2005). There are several different types of anemia. Some of those are hemorrhagic, iron-deficiency, aplastic, and pernicious. Pernicious anemia is a type of anemia due to a vitamin B-12 deficiency and lack of intrinsic factor. Intrinsic factor is an protein found only in the stomach and is responsible for the absorption of B-12. The stomach may not produce intrinsic factor due to stomach surgery, such as gastric bypass, parasites or an overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines, Crohn’s or Celiac disease. The lack of intrinsic factor is also an autoimmune disease for some people(Pernicious Anemia, n.d.) Pernicious anemia is more common among those who are Scandinavian or Celtic, and in the elderly. This type of anemia was referred to as pernicious because of the deadly outcome it had at one time. Doctors knew that patients were anemic but common cures for anemia did not work. This was until the 1920’s when two physicians, George Minot and William Murphy, joined together and realized that certain foods restored patient health and red blood cells drastically. The best type of food for pernicious anemia was liver. The doctors didn’t understand why but seen great improvements in a very short time period (Jacovino, 1998). Another physician, William Castle, also helped to cure the disease. In one experiment he ate liver, made himself vomit, and fed it to his patients. Oddly enough this strange idea worked. His unusual...
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