Is your loved one forgetting things, sad and tired?
It may surprise you to know a vitamin deficiency — not Alzheimer’s disease — may be responsible . . .
That’s what happened to Edna, a 75 year-old great grandmother.
A lifelong knitter, Edna hasn’t knit anything in months. And with multiple great grandchildren this was just not normal for her!
She was feeling tired and rundown, and forgetting things more often.
Her family was concerned, so they arranged a medical evaluation.
To Edna’s surprise (and relief it wasn’t Alzheimer’s disease) her doctor found a low level of vitamin B12. Even though it was in the “low normal”range — not dangerously low — her doctor started Edna on replacement therapy.
Caught early, vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms are often successfully treated and resolve.
Many doctors first learn in medical school about the severe forms of vitamin B12 deficiency, causing a severe anemia called pernicious anemia and nervous system damage that may not be reversible.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms can also be very subtle, coming on slowly with time.
What does vitamin B12 do?
Your body needs vitamin B12 to make new red blood cells. It also helps your nervous system work well.
What are some symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms can develop so gradually that they are easily missed, or thought to be due to another disease process.
Because vitamin B12 is important for making new red blood cells, a deficiency can cause anemia and its associated symptoms.
Anemia symptoms can include:
- Feeling weak . . .
- Feeling tired . . .
- Feeling faint . . .
- Looking pale and . . .
- Shortness of breath.
Plus, vitamin B12 also helps the nervous system work best. When vitamin B12 deficiency affects the nervous system those symptoms can include:
- Tingling of hands and feet . . .
- Unsteadiness or changes in the ability to walk . . .
- Vision loss . . .
- Memory problems . . .
- Seeing things that aren’t there . . .
- Sadness and . . .
- Personality changes.
While Vitamin B12 deficiency affects an average of 1 in 1000 people in the U.S., that number rises to 10 in 31 in adults over the age of 50 according to the CDC .
Is someone you know at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency?
Elderly people with risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency include . . .
Vegans and other strict vegetarians because the natural food sources of vitamin B12 are meat, liver, fish, poultry, and dairy products. Some breakfast cereals are also fortified with vitamin B12. It is not found naturally in fruits, vegetables or grains.
People over 50 years old. Vitamin B12 needs stomach acid for absorption, and people over the age of 50 are at risk for decreased acid production.
Anyone taking medications that decrease their stomach acid production. This can include medications treating ulcers or acid reflux.
Someone with even a few of these symptoms should be checked by their doctor — especially when they have one or more risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency.
When you’re dealing with someone with these symptoms, it’s not always easy.
Sometimes they’re frustrated, angry, or just stressed.
And waiting for lab tests to diagnose the cause is often hard — for both of you.
They may be afraid they’re losing their independence or afraid they have Alzheimer’s disease.
Their stress adds to yours.
And who doesn’t have caregiver stress these days?
Physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial stresses often accompany caregiving.
Navigating these stresses can be challenging.
I’ve written a free report to help you called 7 Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress.
Use this form to get your copy . . .
Can’t see the form? Just click on this link for the form.
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