Health Desk- Anemia has become a common problem nowadays. Due to this, women are suffering more than men. Anemia is a lack of healthy red blood cells due to lower than normal amounts of vitamin B-12 and folate. know- Vitamin Deficiency Anemia – Causes, Symptoms and Remedies.
Anemia can happen if you don’t eat enough foods containing vitamin B-12 and folate, or if your body has trouble absorbing or processing these vitamins.
Without these nutrients, the body produces red blood cells that are too large and do not function properly. This reduces their ability to carry oxygen.
Symptoms of anemia may include fatigue, shortness of breath and dizziness. Vitamin supplements taken by pill or injection can make up for deficiencies.
What are the symptoms of anemia?
Vitamin deficiency anemia usually develops slowly over several months to years. Signs and symptoms may be simple at first, but usually become more severe as the deficiency progresses. These may include the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pale or yellowed skin
- Irregular heartbeat
- Weight loss
- Numbness or tingling in extremities
- Muscle weakness
- Personality changes
- Shaky movements
- Mental confusion or amnesia
What are the causes of anemia?
If you don’t eat enough foods containing vitamin B-12 and folate, or if your body has trouble absorbing or processing these vitamins, vitamin deficiency anemia can result.
Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
Low levels of vitamin B-12 can be caused by:
1. Diet – Vitamin B-12 is mainly found in meat, eggs and milk, so people who do not eat these types of foods may need to take a B-12 supplement. Some foods have been fortified with B-12, including some breakfast cereals and some nutritional yeast products.
2. Pernicious anemia- This condition occurs when the body’s immune system attacks cells in the stomach that produce a substance called intrinsic factor. Without this substance, B-12 cannot be absorbed in the intestines.
3. Gastric surgery- If you have had part of your stomach or intestines surgically removed, this can reduce the amount of intrinsic factor produced and reduce the amount of space available to absorb vitamin B-12.
4. Intestinal problems—Crohn’s disease and celiac disease can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B-12, as can tapeworms that can result from eating contaminated fish.
5. Folate deficiency- Folate is also known as Vitamin B-9, it is a nutrient mainly found in dark green leafy vegetables and liver. Folate deficiency can occur when people do not eat folate-rich foods or their bodies are unable to absorb folate from food.
Absorption problems can be caused by:
1. Intestinal diseases such as celiac disease.
2. Surgical removal or bypass of a large portion of the intestine.
3. Excessive consumption of alcohol.
4.Prescription medications, such as some anti-seizure medications.
5. Pregnant women and lactating women have an increased demand for folate, as do people undergoing dialysis for kidney disease.
Folate deficiency during pregnancy can cause birth defects. However, folate deficiency is now less common in countries that routinely add folate to food products such as breads, cereals and pasta.
A deficiency in vitamin B-12 or folate puts you at an increased risk of several health problems, including:
1. Pregnancy Complications- A developing fetus that does not get enough folate from its mother can develop birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.
2. Nervous system disorders- Untreated, vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to neurological problems, such as persistent tingling in the hands and feet or problems with balance. This can lead to mental confusion and forgetfulness because vitamin B-12 is essential for healthy brain function.
3. Stomach cancer- Pernicious anemia increases the risk of stomach or intestinal cancer.
You can prevent some forms of vitamin deficiency anemia by choosing a healthy diet that includes a wide variety of foods.
Foods rich in vitamin B-12 include:
- Beef, liver, chicken and fish
- Fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals
- Milk, Cheese and Yogurt
- Foods rich in folate include:
- Broccoli, Spinach, Asparagus and Lima Beans
- Oranges, lemons, bananas, strawberries and melons
- Enriched grain products, such as breads, cereals, pasta, and rice
- Liver, kidney, yeast, mushroom and peanut
Most adults require daily dietary amounts of the following vitamins:
Vitamin B-12 – 2.4 micrograms (mcg)
Folate or Folic Acid – 400 mcg
Pregnant and lactating women may have higher needs of each vitamin.
Most people get enough vitamins from the foods they eat. But if your diet is restricted or you’ve had gastric bypass surgery, you may wish to take a multivitamin.