Vitamin B12 deficiency – An ignored threat

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Information about Vitamin B12 deficiency – An ignored threat
Health & Medicine

Published on May 29, 2014

Author: Med724

Source: slideshare.net

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What damage can vitamin B12 deficiency cause, well consider this: according to Massachusetts General Hospital report published in The New England Journal of Medicine a 62 year old patient developed numbness and pins and needles sensation in his hands, had difficulty in walking, severe joint pain, weight loss, and gradually became short of breath, all these in a matter of 2 months.

Vitamin B12 does a lot of things and it’s vital for the way the body works. According to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, around 6% of people aged 60+ years are B12 deficient in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Vitamin B12 deficiency – An ignored threat What damage can vitamin B12 deficiency cause, well consider this: according to Massachusetts General Hospital report published in The New England Journal of Medicine a 62 year old patient developed numbness and pins and needles sensation in his hands, had difficulty in walking, severe joint pain, weight loss, and gradually became short of breath, all these in a matter of 2 months. Vitamin B12 does a lot of things and it’s vital for the way the body works. According to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, around 6% of people aged 60+ years are B12 deficient in the United States and the United Kingdom. Like most vitamins, B12 cannot be synthesized internally and therefore must be obtained through external means like supplements and foods. Are you at Risk? There are many causes of vitamin B12 deficiency, some of the most common are mentioned below:  Pernicious anemia: It’s the most common reason, caused by lack of a protein called IF (intrinsic factor) which is required to absorb vitamin B12 from food into their bloodstream.  Surgery: Patients, who had surgically shortened their bowels, may have issues absorbing vitamin B12 into their body.  Bowel problem: Patients with Crohn's disease, celiac disease or bacterial growth can affect body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12.  Immune system disorder: Lupus or Graves' disease  Alcoholism  Vegan diet: Not eating any animal products like meat, milk, cheese, and eggs to meet vitamin B12 needs. Symptoms of B12 deficiency  Weight loss: Lack of appetite, weight loss and stomach upset  Chronic fatigue: Persistent feeling of tiredness or weakness in the body  Shortness of breath: Rapid heartbeat and breathing difficulty  Bleeding gums  Sore, red tongue  Skin turning yellow How to overcome this vitamin B12 deficiency?  For most patients proper treatment will solve this deficiency problem, the treatment though depends on the cause of the deficiency.  For pernicious anemia, injecting vitamin B12 into the muscle can solve the issue, while for vegan, changing diet to include food with vitamin B12 or taking B12 supplements can enrich the body with B12.

Vitamin B12 deficiency is not a mysterious disease, it’s well written in various medical journals and its causes and treatments are scientifically proven. Most people can avert B12 deficiency by eating enough meat, poultry, dairy products, and eggs. But if you do not eat animal products then it is best to add vitamin B12 supplements to your diet to make sure you are getting the required amount of B12. Finally, be proactive, if you are over 50 years ask your doctor to check your B12 level.

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