DEAR DOCTOR K: My new doctor recently told me I had pernicious anemia, that it had not been diagnosed by my old doctor and that his treatments would end my symptoms. What is pernicious anemia?
DEAR READER: The cause and treatment of pernicious anemia were discovered more than 80 years ago, here at Harvard Medical School. The discovery was honored with the Nobel Prize. Unfortunately, even today there still are people like you for whom diagnosis and treatment have been delayed. That's because, as I explain below, it can be a tricky condition to diagnose. With pernicious anemia, vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed by the intestines.