What are the symptoms of beriberi?
Symptoms of beriberi will vary depending on the system that is affected (cardiovascular or nervous system). Many of the symptoms of beriberi are reversible if prompt medical attention and treatment are sought.
Common symptoms of dry beriberi
You may experience symptoms of dry beriberi daily or just once in a while. At times any of these symptoms can be severe:
- Difficulty walking
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Loss of sensation
- Neurological problems, such as memory loss, confusion, and encephalitis
- Severe discomfort or pain
- Slurred speech
- Tingling or other unusual sensations in the hands or feet
- Uncontrolled eye movement (nystagmus)
Common symptoms of wet beriberi
You may experience symptoms of wet beriberi daily or just once in a while. At times any of these symptoms can be severe:
- Increased heart rate
- Leg pain and swelling
- Pleural effusion (accumulation of fluid around the lungs)
- Shortness of breath
Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition
If left untreated, beriberi is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. If you, or someone you are with, have any of the above-listed symptoms of beriberi, or have experienced unexplained weight loss, seek prompt medical care.
What is beriberi?
Beriberi is a disease caused by a lack of vitamin B1 (thiamine) in the body. Although beriberi can occur in anyone who is poorly nourished, it is very rare in the United States due to the addition of vitamins to many of the foods we eat.... Read more about beriberi introduction
What causes beriberi?
Beriberi is caused by a lack of thiamine in the body. This lack of thiamine can be due to a lack of thiamine intake into the body or to an inability of the body to use the thiamine. Because many foods in developed countries are supplemented with vitamins, a lack of thiamine intake sufficient to cause beriberi is very rare in the United States. Rather, beriberi is more commonly caused by the body’s inability to use the thiamine. This can be due to excessive alcohol use or poisoning, or it may be caused by a rare hereditary disorder.... Read more about beriberi causes
How is beriberi treated?
Treatment for beriberi should be supervised by a health care professional. The basic treatment for beriberi is to bring thiamine levels in the body back to within normal range. This is accomplished through the administration of oral or injectable thiamine supplements. Additional vitamin supplements may also be recommended. If beriberi is treated promptly, most symptoms of the disease will be reversed.... Read more about beriberi treatments