Dr Dawn Harper on signs of vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiency
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Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a “a thumping heart”, or palpitations, according to experts. Heart palpitations are described by the NHS as heartbeats suddenly becoming more noticeable. The health body says: “Your heart may feel like it’s pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly, often for just a few seconds or minutes.
“You may also feel these sensations in your throat or neck.”
In most cases, heart palpitations are harmless and not a sign of a serious problem.
And a “thumping heart” is a less common symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency, according to Patient.info.
The health site says more common symptoms include:
- Feeling faint
- Becoming breathless
You may also look pale in appearance.
Cells in other parts of the body may be affected if you lack vitamin B12.
The site also advises other symptoms that may occur include a sore mouth and tongue.
It adds: “If left untreated, problems with nerves and psychological problems can develop.
“Psychological problems may include depression, confusion, and difficulty with memory, or even dementia.
“Nerve problems may include numbness, pins and needles, vision changes and unsteadiness.”
Vitamin B12 is best gained through diet. Good sources include meat, fish milk, cheese, eggs and some fortified breakfast cereals.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by a number of things. One of the most common causes is pernicious anaemia – an autoimmune disease that affects the body’s absorption of B12 from foods.
Certain medicines used for other conditions may also affect the absorption of B12 – medicines like metformin, used for diabetes.
And strict vegans who take no animal or dairy produce may not eat enough vitamin B12.
If you think you may have vitamin B12 deficiency you should see a GP.
Most cases of the condition can be easily treated with injections or tablets to replace the missing vitamins, says the NHS.
The health body adds: “Vitamin B12 supplements are usually given by injection at first.
“Then, depending on whether your B12 deficiency is related to your diet, you’ll either require B12 tablets between meals or regular injections.
“These treatments may be needed for the rest of your life.”
In some cases, improving your diet can help treat the condition and prevent it coming back.
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