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Posts Tagged ‘neuropathy and vitamin B12’

What is the Link Between Megaloblastic Anemia and Vitamin B12?

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Megaloblastic anemia is caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Megaloblastic anemia is a blood disorder. The symptoms include weakness, fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath and cold hands and feet. A person with this disorder may have headaches as well.

Megaloblastic anemia is caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency.  Unfortunately, the symptoms are identical to iron-deficiency anemia.  Many doctors test for iron deficiency, but don’t test for a vitamin B12 deficiency.  If an anemic person does not feel better after taking iron supplements, that person should have his/her vitamin B12 levels tested.

Blood carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. In a person who is anemic, there are fewer red blood cells, which are responsible for attaching themselves to oxygen and transporting this throughout the body. Oxygen is vital for energy production. Without sufficient red blood cells, a person becomes depleted of his/her stores of oxygen and feels tired.

If megaloblastic anemia is not treated with sufficient vitamin B12 supplementation, eventually the nerves start to degenerate and neuropathy sets in.

Proper treatment for megaloblastic anemia includes vitamin B12 and folic acid. Folic acid is found in green, leafy vegetables. Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. Our stomachs produce pepsin and intrinsic factor, which attach themselves to the vitamin B12. Some people don’t produce enough of  the pepsin or the intrinsic factor, and therefore cannot absorb the vitamin B12 from their food. These people need to supplement their diets with vitamin B12.

Vegetarians and vegans avoid the foods that are rich in vitamin B12, so they need to supplement their diets with vitamin B12 to prevent megaloblastic anemia.

There are reports of people who were suffering from megaloblastic anemia and nearly died as a result because it went untreated. Many doctors confuse the signs and symptoms of this disorder with iron-deficiency anemia. If you know someone who is suffering from fatigue or neuropathy, tell him to have his blood B12 levels tested immediately.

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