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Still think vitamin B12 deficiency is something that can be ignored? If you have any of the most common symptoms- fatigue, depression, memory loss, painful “pins and needles” in the hands and feet- then you may be surprised to learn that there’s a lot more to pernicious anemia than beats the eye.
Vitamin B12- You need this!
Vitamin B12 is essential for so many primary biological functions that are necessary for survival- your nervous system, hormonal balance, cognitive functioning, metabolism, cell formation, to name just a few. It’s no wonder that when vitamin B12 levels are even marginally low, the results can range from annoying and disturbing to debilitating and catastrophic.
In years past, pernicious anemia from severe vitamin B12 deficiency used to be fatal. Today, thanks to vitamin B12 supplementation, we are able to maintain normal levels of vitamin B12, even in spite of vitamin B12 malabsorption from autoimmune disorders and gastrointestinal illnesses.
But until you learn to recognize the earliest symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, you’re at risk for pernicious anemia and all the damage that it can cause throughout your system.
Symptoms of low B12
Here are 99 ailments that often occur in people with moderate to severe vitamin B12 deficiency, including comorbid conditions and direct symptoms.
Symptoms of anemia- peripheral (megaloblastic) anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency
If your fingers feel numb and tingly more often than usual, then it can indicate a problem with your nerve endings or blood flow. Paresthesia- annoying “pins and needles” in your hands, fingertips, feet, and toes happens a lot with vitamin B12 deficiency and other conditions that affect the nervous system. Listed are some reasons that people get painful numbness in the extremities.
Nerve damage from vitamin B12 deficiency
Painful numbness and tingling in the hands and feet are some of the first signs of peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) caused by vitamin B12 deficiency and pernicious anemia (severely low vitamin B12). People often complain about their hands or legs constantly “going to sleep” before they even get their vitamin B12 blood levels checked.
The reason for this is that vitamin B12 is absolutely critical for a healthy nervous system, as it helps to maintain myelin, a protective coating that shields your nerve cells from harm and also enhances communication along the network of synapses.
Unchecked, vitamin B12 levels will continue to decline, leading to even worse symptoms of nerve cell damage and other debilitating ailments; depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, brain fog, and memory problems are all conditions linked with pernicious anemia from vitamin B12 deficiency.
If you experience any of the symptoms listed, then see a doctor. Ask for a blood screening for vitamin B12 deficiency. Or, start taking vitamin B12 supplements right away, and see if you notice any improvement. Vitamin B12 is safe to take in any amount, so you don’t need to worry about taking too much.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder that erodes myelin- the same substance the goes under attack with vitamin B12 deficiency. Numbness and tingling is a minor symptom of MS; for some, nerve damage impairs your ability to walk or speak without severe difficulty.
Diabetic neuropathy- nerve damage caused by symptoms of type 2 diabetes- is also a possible cause for constant numbness in your fingertips and toes. If it occurs, speak to your doctor. If you are diabetic, then you should be in the habit of testing your hands and legs for signs of numbness, and checking for wounds.
If you work at a computer all day, then it’s normal for your fingers to go numb every now and then from the constant tap-tap-tapping at the keyboard. Carpal tunnel syndrome, which you get from repetitive hand motions, is a common cause of pain in the fingers, hands, and wrists. You can also get this from knitting, gaming, and playing the piano.
To treat, make a habit of taking a break every 20 minutes. If you have a hard time remembering, then set a timer to warn you when you should stop, stretch your fingers, and twirl your wrists, even for just a few minutes.
Common in people with lupus, Raynaud’s disease causes numbness or cooling in the extremities, including the fingers, toes, nose, and ears. This happens because of inadequate blood flow to these areas.
Do you know any other conditions that cause painful numbness in the fingers, hands, legs, and feet? Please comment below!
So you’re sitting at your desk, and suddenly your legs fall asleep. You try to shake it off, but that annoying numbness and tingling sensation just doesn’t want to leave without a fight. Paresthesia, a neuropathic ailment often associated with vitamin B12 deficiency, causes “pins and needles,” numbness, and painful burning in your hands, arms, feet, and legs.
What are the symptoms of paresthesia?
Paresthesia causes numbness and tingling sensations, primarily in your hands, arms, feet, and legs. People who experience paresthesia say they feel like their legs or arms are “falling asleep.” Others describe it as a burning pain in one or more limbs, “pins and needles,” or severe itching.
Is paresthesia serious?
Sometimes, paresthesia happens as a response to hyperventilating, anxiety, or just putting too much pressure on one nerve for too long.
Other times, paresthesia occurs as part of a chronic condition, and the only way to put an end to the constant numbness and prickling sensations is to find out what is causing your symptoms, and the best way to treat it.
What causes your arms or legs to “fall asleep?”
Many chronic conditions, illnesses, or drug interactions can cause neuropathic pain symptoms such as paresthesia.
Vitamin B12 deficiency: Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet are usually the first symptoms noticed by sufferers of vitamin B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia.
Vitamin B12 protects the myelin sheath, the fatty layer that protects your peripheral nerves. Left untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency causes damage to the nervous system, resulting in peripheral neuropathy.
In addition to limbs falling asleep, other symptoms of B12 deficiency are loss of fine motor control, trouble walking, fatigue, memory loss, “brain fog,” depression, disorientation, anxiety, insomnia, stomach upset, breathlessness, loss of appetite, and hallucinations.
Nerve damage:Other types of nerve damage result from Lyme disease and frostbite.
Elderly individuals suffer from paresthesia caused by vitamin deficiency, in addition to poor circulation in the arms and legs, or peripheral vascular disease (PVD).
Arthritis: Various types of arthritis cause neuropathic pain symptoms similar to paresthesia, in addition to carpal tunnel syndrome. Autoimmune diseases:Lupus, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS) sometimes cause chronic paresthesia. Migraines: If you get migraine attacks, then you might also experience frequent pins and needles, or legs falling asleep. Seizuresand stroke are correlated with paresthesia. Shingles:symptoms include numbness, tingling, and burning sensations in the skin. Drugs:Drug interactions that may cause paresthesia symptoms are beta-blockers, beta-alanines, anticonvulsants, narcotics, opiates, and Lomotil.
The quicker you get your blood flowing to your extremities, the sooner you will start to feel relief. As soon as you feel your arms or legs starting to fall asleep or feel tingly, do one or all of the following:
1-Pump your arms.
2- Clench and unclench your fists.
3-Kick your legs.
4- Walk it off.
5-Stand up, holding onto a chair or wall for support. Put all your weight on the foot that is falling asleep, rise up on your tiptoes, and then lower to the ball of your foot. Repeat the movement, pumping up and down, without resting the heel on the floor, until pain goes away.
6-Massage hands, arms, legs, or feet gently.
These are helpful tips for temporarily relieving paresthesia. However, if you experience numbness, tingling, burning, or other painful symptoms frequently, then it is crucial to visit a doctor. A blood test will determine if you have vitamin B12 deficiency, or one of many other likely conditions.