What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?

The symptoms vary depending on the individual, the underlying cause, the severity of B12 deficiency, and other factors. In some cases, the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can be vague, take years to develop, or may not be noticeable immediately.

Some symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are due to a decreased production of red blood cells, which are necessary to carry vital oxygen to the body’s cells and tissues. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can affect the gastrointestinal tract, the nervous system, and the cardiovascular system. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • Confusion, memory loss, or dementia
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Developmental delays and failure to thrive
  • Mild jaundice
  • Numbness or coldness of hands and feet (constant, symmetric)
  • Pale skin or jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)
  • Sore mouth and tongue
  • Weight loss
    INTRODUCTION

    What is vitamin B12 deficiency?

    Vitamin B12 deficiency is a condition in which the body has inadequate stores of vitamin B12. This vitamin is essential for many aspects of health, including the production of red blood cells. Healthy numbers of red blood cells are critical for delivering oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells and tissues.

    Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that must be ingested daily and ab... Read more about vitamin b12 deficiencyintroduction

    CAUSES

    What causes vitamin B12 deficiency?

    Vitamin B12 deficiency is most often caused by an inability of the body to properly digest and absorb vitamin B12. The inability to absorb vitamin B12 can be caused by diseases and conditions including:

    • Atrophic gastritis (a condition in which the stomach lining is inflamed and becomes thin)
    TREATMENTS

    How is vitamin B12 deficiency treated?

    Vitamin B12 deficiency is treatable. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, you can expect to have a good prognosis and a minimal risk of developing serious complications, such as nerve damage, anemia, or dementia.

    Treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency involves replacing the body’s depleted stores of vitamin B12. This generally includes:

    Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 30, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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