Vitamin B12 Anemia – A Potentially Fatal Condition
B12 Anemia can be a mild disease or a very serious one, and in some cases it can even be life-threatening. So with such serious consequences, and many people being B12 deficient without realizing, it’s important that you know all about this potentially fatal condition.
Vitamin B12 helps the body manufacture red blood cells, so a deficiency in B12 can cause anemia, which is an insufficient number of these blood cells. This leads to the body being starved of oxygen and can affect the lungs, organs and central nervous system.
B12 Deficiency SymptomsTypically symptoms include exhaustion, fuzzy thinking, depression, pale skin. They may also look like they are drained and lacking in sleep. This may indeed be the case, because insomnia is a secondary sign of anemia.
Anemia can be a mild illness but can get more serious over time. Nerve endings can die, which cause the fingers and other extremities to become numb or to have a tingling sensation. In extreme cases anemia can cause degeneration of the spinal cord, organ failure, and death.
TreatmentTreatment depends on what caused the anemia. Perhaps the patient isn’t getting enough B12, in which case it can be added to the diet via food or supplements. Or they may not be able to make use of the B12 they are getting, due to lack of intrinsic factor, in which case they may need B12 injections or patches.
If you have any symptoms of anemia it is very important that you see your doctor so that he can test you for both anemia and for B12 deficiency. If you have a B12 deficiency it’s very important to get it sorted out as soon as possible, as it can lead to irreversible nerve damage and even death.
Most at RiskThe people are most at risk are vegan, vegetarians and people over 50. But one recent study suggested the up to 40% of the US population may be deficient, so don’t think that this couldn’t happen to you. Even if you have enough B12 in your diet, you have no way of knowing if you body has enough intrinsic factor to be able to use it.