Lately, you have been feeling undefinable weakness and fatigue. There hasn’t been any change in your routine and you’re not straining your body with additional work. You might be experiencing this condition because of a possible vitamin B12 deficiency.
As an important water-soluble vitamin, B12 is responsible for the production of red blood cells and the proper functioning of your nervous system. Even though this deficiency is common among the elderly, people of any age can suffer from it.
Who Are at Risk of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
As mentioned above, this deficiency is not limited to the elderly. Here is the list of the people who might be at risk of this deficiency.
- People who’ve got the part of the bowel that absorbs B12 removed
- People who’ve been taking antacid drugs for heartburn for too long
- People on drugs for diabetes
- People who follow a strict vegan diet
- The elderly
- People who’ve had a weight-loss surgery
Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The following are some of the most common signs of a B12 deficiency. If you or any person you know is showing these signs, it is best to talk to a doctor.
1. Jaundiced or Pale Skin
People who suffer from a B12 deficiency normally have pale skin. Since B12 is responsible for the production of the DNA that produces red blood cells, its deficiency leads to the incomplete building of the cells. These undivided cells are too large to pass into the circulation out of the bone marrow. As a result, you don’t have an adequate number of red blood cells in your body. When these cells cannot pass into your circulation, they eventually break down into a slightly red or brown-colored substance called bilirubin. It is produced in the liver, and it gives your eyes and skin a pale look.
2. Changes in Mobility
If the deficiency is not treated for long, it will end up causing changes to the way you move and walk. Since it affects your coordination and balance, you are prone to falling. In individuals over 60, this symptom can be easily observed. Early detection of the problem can help prevent the deficiency and improve mobility.
3. Disturbed Vision
Blurred vision is also a common symptom of B12 deficiency. This is because if the condition remains untreated, it can cause some damage to the optic nerve that leads to the eye.
4. Weakness and Fatigue
Since your body doesn’t have enough blood cells to transport oxygen to your body, you may feel tired and weak all the time.
5. Mood Changes
In some people, a B12 deficiency may result in mood and brain disorders like dementia and depression. Even though the prescribed use of supplements can alleviate the condition, it is also important to get your condition – depression or dementia – separately treated.
A healthy and balanced diet is the perfect way to prevent this deficiency and lead a healthier life.