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Vitamin B12 Deficiency

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Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Advice from the Family Medical Centre, Albir
Do you suffer with any of the following:

  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Fatigue, lack of energy, or light-headedness when standing up or with exertion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale skin
  • Problems concentrating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen, red tongue or bleeding gums
  • Confusion or change in mental status
  • Depression
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness and tingling of hands and feet

 ……………then you may be suffering from Vitamin B12 deficiency.

B12 deficiency can occur at any age but is more common in older people. It is also more prevalent in vegetarians (and especially vegans) and those using long term treatments for heartburn.

Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells provide the body tissues with oxygen.

Vitamin B12 is found in meat, poultry, shellfish, eggs, and dairy products and in lesser amounts in other foods. A person who has a normal healthy diet which includes plenty of these foods should have normal levels of vitamin B12. However, there are certain medical conditions that make it difficult for the body to absorb B12. These include:

  • Crohn´s disease.
  • Coeliac disease.
  • Fish tapeworm infection.
  • Any condition that makes it difficult for your body to digest foods
  • Pernicious anaemia.
  • Any surgery that involves removing certain parts of the stomach or small intestine.

Diagnosis is made with a simple blood test and treatment is effective and easy. This may be in tablet form or (depending on the cause) monthly injections.

As a person gets older they tend to put symptoms such as tiredness down to ‘old age’. However, for 1 out of 10 the symptoms are just due to a simple B12 deficiency which can be easily corrected.

For anyone suffering from the above mentioned symptoms a visit to your Family Doctor may turn out to be the best thing you’ve ever done!

 

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