Coronavirus: Dr Nighat Arif discusses benefits of vitamins
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The lack of B12 can cause your body to produce abnormally large red blood cells which can’t function properly. Red blood cells carry oxygen in your body, using a substance called haemoglobin. This means that vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to folate deficiency anaemia. Here are the signs to spot it.
Anaemia describes having either fewer red blood cells or having a low amount of haemoglobin in the cells.
There are different types of anaemia, including folate deficiency anaemia, induced by the lack of vitamin B12.
In the UK, this deficiency affects around six percent of people aged below 60, according to the National Institutes of Health.
This statistic rises further to 20 percent with age.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause an array of symptoms.
The signs usually develop gradually and can progress further if the deficiency is left untreated, the NHS explains.
One of the tell-tale signs of the lack of this vitamin is trouble walking, according to Hopkins Medicine.
After some time, B12 deficiency can lead to peripheral nerve damage which can cause problems with movement, Medical News Today states.
You may experience numbness in your feet and limbs which may make it hard for you to walk without support.
People with low levels of vitamin B12 can also struggle with muscle weakness and diminished reflexes.
According to the University of California, San Francisco, B12 deficiencies are more common in people with Parkinson’s disease.
The deficiency is linked to problems, such as tiredness, numbness, tingling and walking difficulties.
All of these are commonly found in patients with Parkinson’s disease, the university reports.
Apart from trouble walking, there are also other tell-tale signs of this deficiency.
- Pale yellow tinge to your skin
- Sore and red tongue
- Mouth ulcers
- Pins and needles
- Disturbed vision
- Changes in the way you think, feel and behave
- Decline in your mental abilities (memory, understanding and judgement).
If you experience any symptoms like these, speak to your GP, the NHS advises.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be diagnosed based on your symptoms or from a blood test.
Spotting and treating this deficiency early is crucial as some problems caused by it can’t be reversed, the health body warns.
The longer you leave this problem untreated, the more you’re likely to suffer from permanent damage.
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