Anemia is a condition in which the red blood cells have low concentration of hemoglobin and cannot carry oxygen properly. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause the body to produce red blood cells that are too large and don't work properly. This reduces their ability to carry oxygen.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency occurs when you don’t eat enough foods that contain vitamin B-12 and folate.
Examples of vitamin B-12 rich foods include: meat, eggs, and milk.
Other causes besides diet deficiency include:
Pernicious anemia: which is a condition in which the immune system attacks cells in the stomach and affect the absorption of vitamin B-12.
Some surgeries that remove part of the stomach or the intestine can also affect the absorption of vitamin B-12
Some bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease can affect the absorption of vitamin B-12 and cause deficiency
Also causes that lead to folate deficiency can cause a similar presentation, the sources of folate include: dark green leafy vegetables and liver. Also folate can be deficient in pregnant and breastfeeding women and also in dialysis patients
Vitamin deficiency usually develop very slowly over several months to years. The signs and symptoms are mild at first, but they worsen as the deficiency worsen. The signs and symptoms include:FatiguePale skinNumbness in the hands and feetShortness of breathWeight lossMuscle weaknessPersonality changesUnsteady movementsConfusion or forgetfulness
Diagnosis of vitamin B-12 and folate deficiency anemia can be done through blood tests to check for the number and appearance of red blood cells, which are usually bigger than normal in vitamin deficiency anemia. Blood tests also quantify the amount of vitamin B12 and folate in the blood.
The treatment of vitamin B-12 or folate deficiency is done by giving doses of the deficient vitamin.
For pernicious anemia, vitamin B-12 is usually given through regular injections since the body cannot absorb from food. For other deficiencies, there are pill forms available for vitamin B-12 and folate.
Some forms of vitamin B-12 can be prevented, especially those because of dietary deficiency. Usually the prevention is by increasing intake of healthy diet containing vitamin B-12 such as:
Eggs, chicken, fish, mild, cheese, and yogurt. And for folate, it is usually found in Broccoli, spinach, oranges, lemons, bananas, and rice.