If you are reading this article, chances are that either you have entered your 40’s or have a loved one in senior years. Whatever may be the case, many of us take several symptoms granted at old age. However you must consider one question: Are you really aging? Maybe it is just Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Life as a senior citizen is not easy.
- They forget things.
- They fall a lot.
- They have aches and pains all over the body.
- They are senile.
- They are depressed.
This is a scenario considered normal for any individual close to and above the age of 60. But is this normal?
Senior citizens have unfortunately been stereotyped. They are expected to have these symptoms by people in general as well as by medical professionals. No body is going to look for ways to alleviate these symptoms in seniors. Had a 30 year old person presented these symptoms, there would at least be a search to find the cause.
In reality even for an eighty year old these are not normal symptoms. If senior citizens present with the following symptoms, it is required that they be screened for a Vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Age over 60
- Forgetfulness or memory lapses
- Frequent Falls
- Aches and pains in any part of the body
- Difficulty in walking
- Recurrent Infections
- Seniors having Diabetes
- Seniors having Arthritis
- Seniors with any kind of gastric problems
- Seniors who have undergone any kind of surgery
- Seniors suffering dizziness or imbalance
- Numbness and tingling anywhere over the body
- Blood abnormalities such as enlarged red blood cells
Are you really aging? Maybe it is just Vitamin B12 deficiency.
If you have some or all of these symptoms, do get screened for Vitamin B12 deficiency. Remember that over a long period, if this Vitamin B12 deficiency goes untreated, the symptoms can become irreversible and permanent. If caught on time Vitamin B12 deficiency is a disorder that is the easiest and safest to treat.
Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency among Seniors in India
Senior are a high risk group when it comes to Vitamin B12 deficiency. The primary causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency among seniors are:
- They usually live on limited budgets and eat poorly to save some money.
- They may not be eating any multivitamin or meat. Meat is the primary source of Vitamin B12 via diet.
- They may be living alone and may lose interest in food.
- They may be somewhat disabled and not be able to prepare their own food.
- They may suffer from various mouth ailments or indigestion which are common in the elderly and may not chew their food or avoid meat altogether.
- And then in some countries, like here in India, there are those who will give up all kind of meat to follow some or the other kind of spiritual pursuit. One of the deadliest combination for Vitamin B12 deficiency are individuals who are above 60 and are vegetarians.
Besides the above, over 30% of senior citizens develop a condition called atrophic gastritis. This a condition wherein there is an inflammation and wasting of the stomach lining. This reduces their stomach acid without which there will be no vitamin B12 absorption even if it is present in the diet. The 6 or 10mcg of Vitamin B12 present in most multivitamins will then be pretty useless.
Medication a Leading cause of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Besides above seniors or for that matter any individuals on any kind of pharmaceutical drugs for any of the following diseases may be deficient in vitamin B12
- Heartburn/ Gastritis/ Acid reflux
- Elevated cholesterol levels
- Recurrent Infections
- Kidney failure
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Erectile Dysfunction
Severe vitamin B12 deficiencies are very difficult to treat with regular oral supplements. There are some pills and lozenges which may contain 1000mcg of cyanocobalamin and they may help somewhat in the long term. But for immediate relief and reversal of neurological and physical symptoms methylcobalamin injections are the best and inexpensive option.
However if you can not go for regular dosage of injections consider using the best quality, bioavailable form of Vitamin B12, which is Methylcobalamin.
In the next article read about the optimum ranges of serum Vitamin B12. How “normal” levels on your lab reports may actually be deficient levels for you.
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