Is constant tiredness weighing you down? It might be more than just the exhaustion of a long workday. The NHS has said it could be a signal of vitamin B12 deficiency, a common condition with various implications for the body.
Vitamin B12 is vital for numerous bodily functions. Not only does it keep your blood and nerve cells healthy, but it also plays a crucial role in preventing anaemia, a condition that can leave you feeling fatigued and weak.
Recognising the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency is key. Fatigue, pins and needles, and weight loss are common indicators. Some individuals develop a deficiency due to insufficient intake of vitamin B12 through their diet.
A diet that includes meat, fish, and dairy products typically provides an adequate amount of vitamin B12. However, those who do not regularly consume these foods may become deficient. If you’re experiencing symptoms of vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia, it is advisable to consult a GP.
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The NHS advises that these conditions can often be diagnosed based on symptoms and the results of a blood test. It is crucial to receive a diagnosis and commence treatment as soon as possible. While many symptoms improve with treatment, some issues caused by the condition can be irreversible if left untreated. The longer the condition remains untreated, the higher the risk of permanent damage.
Here are some symptoms associated with B12 deficiency:
- rapid breathing or shortness of breath
- loss of appetite
- vision problems
- feeling weak or tired
- a sore or red tongue (sometimes with mouth ulcers)
- problems with memory, understanding, and judgment (cognitive changes).
It is worth noting that some of these symptoms can also occur in individuals with a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency who have not developed anaemia. Additionally, vitamin B12 deficiency can affect the brain and nervous system, leading to neurological symptoms such as:
- muscle weakness
- psychological problems ranging from mild depression or anxiety to confusion and dementia
- issues with balance and coordination
- pins and needles
If you are experiencing persistent tiredness or any of the mentioned symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical advice for proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
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