Autoimmune pernicious anemia can sometimes occur in patients with vitiligo.
Vitiligo is typically an autoimmune disease. So the root cause comes from the body’s own production of antibodies that are directed against its own components. In this case, against melanocytes.
Being a dysregulation of the immune system, vitiligo is very frequently associated with other disorders or autoimmune diseases. Among these we have pernicious anemia.
Pernicious anemia symptoms
Pernicious anemia is a disease that consists in the lack of a large amount of vitamin B12 in the blood that causes certain symptoms. These basically consist of those of an anemic syndrome and involve the appearance of pallor, fatigue, tachypnea (ie difficulty in breathing), nausea, anorexia, vomiting.
Vitamin B12: food sources
Vitamin B12 is found in meats (mostly beef, pork, chicken and offal), eggs, fortified cereals, milk and dairy products, mackerel, salmon, and fruit sea like clams and oysters.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is linked to the fact that, at a certain point, for genetic reasons for those who are predisposed to autoimmune diseases, antibodies are produced that are directed against the gastric mucosa.
That is, against the parietal cells of the stomach which have the function of producing hydrochloric acid and a particular glycoprotein. This takes the name of intrinsic factor and is the one that allows its absorption, by binding to vitamin B12.
Furthermore, the lack of this vitamin can also depend on an inadequate intake, a decrease in its use, the use of certain drugs or inadequate absorption.
Pernicious Anemia Diagnosis
In this case, the diagnosis of autoimmune pernicious anemia is made through a histological examination through the removal of a biopsy fragment of the gastric mucosa which is analyzed and, in fact, the presence of antibodies in an inflammatory state is found in the mucosa itself.
The therapy to treat pernicious anemia consists in the administration of vitamin B12 through intramuscular injections.