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Posts Tagged ‘person’

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.

How Long Does it Take to Become Deficient in Vitamin B12?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

To answer this question a little back ground is in order. A healthy adult with a well balanced diet never has to worry about Vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is found in all animal based food products, meats, dairy, eggs, fish, cheese and any other product that comes from animals. So in absence of illness that would prevent the absorption of Vitamin B12, deficiency is unlikely.

Of all the represented groups that do not have a disease, vegetarians run the greatest risk of suffering from Vitamin B12 deficiency. The onset is typically about two years after the person becomes a vegetarian. Some vegetarians never realize the health implications of abstaining from animal products. There are important nutrients that the body cannot function without found in animal products. Supplementing the diet with Vitamin B12 supplements will prevent the Vitamin B12 deficiency. In some cases the vegetarian is faced with a twofold problem, a low ability to absorb Vitamin B12 that was preexisting and the lack of animal products in the diet, which supplies no Vitamin B12 at all. The vegetarian that suffers two fold will very likely face a Vitamin B12 Deficiency.

The onset of the illness will occur in about two years from the time the decision is made to abstain from animal products, a smart medical professional will do a brief history and once it is determined that the sick person is a vegetarian a simple blood test will be taken to determine the Vitamin B12 levels. In some instances the vegetarian will be misdiagnosed because of a too brief background investigation. Treatments will probably include Vitamin B12 shots to regulate the levels. The shots will be given every other day for around two weeks than on a monthly basis.

Disease and Medication
There are a couple of diseases that are linked to the inability to absorb Vitamin B12. Pernicious Anemia is one of those diseases. Pernicious Anemia destroys the cells in the stomach that absorb Vitamin B12, in the case of Pernicious Anemia the Vitamin B12 deficiency is immediate, the treatment is Vitamin B12 shots in high doses which sometimes help and sometimes does not help, the theory is that if the Vitamin B12 is present at very high levels at least some of it will be absorbed. Some folks have very high levels of homocysteine an amino acid (although not actually a disease) that also prevents the absorption of Vitamin B12.

There are some medications that are used for the treatment of heartburn and ulcers that also may cause trouble with the absorption of Vitamin B12 resulting in Vitamin B12 deficiency, typically the onset of the Vitamin B12 deficiency will occur within about twelve months of starting the medication. The medication slowly erodes the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 deficiency usually goes undetected for a great deal of time, many people are misdiagnosed with other diseases, because it is rather rare unless the previous situations listed exist. It is very difficult to pinpoint exactly how long it takes to become deficient in Vitamin B12. There is usually no baseline information to compare the results to, so it is purely guess work.

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