b12 vitamin deficiency symptoms

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Elderly Care and Vitamin B12 Deficiencies: Common Undiagnosed Senior Ailments

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin is the most complex of B vitamins, and required for DNA synthesis, RBC's (red blood cells) and many other bodily

tissues. A vitamin B12 deficiency is not uncommon in the elderly population (an estimated 5%-20% of the elderly are B12 deficient). This deficiency is

gradual, taking a few years to develop and directly affects gastrointestinal, neurologic, and hematologic systems. The common cause of vitamin B12

deficiency is poor food absorption (or food malabsorption) which is responsible for the cause of approximately 70% of these cases. An actual dietary

deficiency of B12 is very rare because many foods are fortified and supplements are readily available.

Elderly Care and B12: A Brief Overview of Vitamin B

As mentioned, vitamin B12 is required for DNA synthesis in many tissues, primarily red blood cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency rarely occurs due to dietary

reasons, but rather from inadequate B12 absorption, in some cases a very strict vegetarian diet, limited food intake, alcohol abuse, or general

malnutrition. Vitamin B12 deficiency has also been attributed to surgery or other diseases, particularly Crohn's. It should be noted that drugs can also

interfere with absorption as well. This vitamin is derived from meat, dairy, and other animal products, though very little is actually needed the body

stores B12 in the liver and can store supplies for up to ten years.

Elderly Care: The Dangers of Limited B12 Intake and Absorption

Red blood cells formed when the body is deficient in B12 are abnormal and an individual is more likely to become anemic. Signs and symptoms your loved one

may be suffering from a lack of B12 include fatigue, listlessness, pallor, and a lack of energy. In worst cases, there are irreversible neurologic

consequences, parenthesis of extremities (particularly lower extremities). If you're providing elderly care for a loved one, family member, or parent, be

aware of the following signs of a B12 deficiency.

Providing Elderly Care: Signs and Symptoms of a Vitamin B12 Deficient Diet:

* Has your loved one lost his/her appetite?

* Do they frequently suffer from fatigue, weakness, or shortness of breath?

* Have they complained about a sore mouth/tongue?

* Do they often experience numbness or tingling in the hands or feet?

* Do they appear pale?

These symptoms may not always be present and tend to subside when B12 is replaced--but can resume periodically. In worst cases, severe deprivation of B12

results in death due to anemia or heart failure.

Vitamin B12 can cause a change of mental state in very advanced cases, and is often confused with dementia.However, deficiencies of B12 and folic acid may

contribute to the onset of Alzheimer's or other similar dementias.

B12 rich foods include eggs, cheese, meats such as lamb and beef, shellfish and seafood (crab and lobster), fish, and liver. B12 is found in most animal

products and vitamin supplements are largely available.

Elderly care services, provided by experienced caregivers are available 24 hours a day for elderly individuals to remain in their own home and improve the

quality of their lives. Elderly care services provide aging loved ones with meal preparation and diet monitoring services to ensure health and well being.

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