Home Health Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms: Paraesthesia is a major warning sign – what...

Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms: Paraesthesia is a major warning sign – what is it?

Low Vitamin B12 and low iron levels are causes of anaemia. Anaemia is when you do not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry the oxygen you need around your body.  When anaemia first develops, symptoms can be loss of appetite, constipation, headaches, irritability and difficulty concentrating. Another major indicator that your B12 levels are seriously low is paraesthesia.

In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, vitamin B12 deficiency neuropathy, a rare diagnosis in young adults was further investigated.

The study said: “The diagnosis of Vitamin B12 deficiency is challenging in resource limited-settings due to limited access to diagnostic tools and unfamiliarity with the disease, owing to its rarity especially in young people.

“A 28-year-old female presented with progressive burning painful sensations on the upper trunk, paraesthesia and numbness of the upper and lower limbs for a period of five years.

“Before presenting to us, she had consulted in numerous health institutions for which she had been treated for diverse pathologies with no relief of symptoms.

“After clinical and laboratory evaluation, a diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency-associated neuropathy was made.

“She was placed on oral vitamin B12 supplements at 2 mg daily for three months.

“Follow up was marked by good clinical recovery after one month of therapy.” 

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Symptoms tend to develop slowly and may not be recognized immediately when it comes to a B12 deficiency.

However, as the condition worsens, common symptoms experienced may include:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Light-headedness and dizziness
  • Palpitations and rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • A sore tongue that has a red, beefy appearance
  • Nausea or poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Yellowish tinge to the skin and eyes

The Framingham Offspring Study found that nearly 40 percent of people aged 26 to 83 years had B12 levels in the “low normal” range—a level at which neurological symptoms may begin to develop. This becomes a concern as low B12 levels cause an array of neurologic and psychiatric manifestations with a person not realising the cause.

B12 deficiency has been severely underplayed in health care and largely ignored in favour of more recognized and more expensive-to-treat diagnoses said Pharmacy Times.

It added: “This has resulted in both substandard care and malpractice, costing millions of individuals their health.”

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