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Feeling in your chest that could signal a B12 deficiency

Coronavirus: Dr Nighat Arif discusses benefits of vitamins

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Vitamin B12 is found in many animal-product foods including meat, cheese and eggs. Having a B12 deficiency can be a serious condition especially if it develops into anaemia, meaning you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells. To treat the deficiency as soon as possible there are certain symptoms you should be wary of.

B12 is used to create red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of your body.

Not having enough of these blood cells means your tissues and organs can’t get enough oxygen and, ultimately, your body can’t function properly.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, a fast heart rate is a sign of B12 deficiency anaemia.

The health body urges people to see their doctor to establish a diagnosis.

It explains: “This type of anaemia is usually found during a medical exam through a routine blood test.

“Your healthcare provider will take your medical history and give you a physical exam.

“Your provider may give you additional blood tests.

“You may also have other evaluation procedures, such as a bone marrow biopsy.”

Other signs of B12 deficiency anaemia can include:

  • Weak muscles
  • Numb or tingling feeling in hands and feet
  • Trouble walking
  • Nausea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Lack of energy or tiring easily (fatigue)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Smooth and tender tongue.

Often simply upping the intake of the vitamin in your diet will help

Foods that contain B12 include:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Some fortified breakfast cereals
  • Marmite.

However, if it is more severe or your body is unable to properly absorb B12, supplements or injections from a GP will be needed.

Most adults need about 1.5 micrograms a day of vitamin B12.

You can take up to two micrograms a day in supplement form.

The NHS says it is vital to get a deficiency diagnosed as quickly as you can.

It warns: “It’s important for vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

“Although many of the symptoms improve with treatment, some problems caused by the condition can be irreversible if left untreated.

“The longer the condition goes untreated, the higher the chance of permanent damage.”

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