One of the most common vitamins found in food like meat and dairy products is B12, but as we age, our body has a harder time processing it. This means that even taking supplements or getting a B12 shot from a clinic near you might not be enough. Below, the professionals from Surfside Urgent Care in Laguna Beach has compiled some important facts on the causes of the deficiency, as well as how it’s diagnosed and treated.
Why Does B12 Deficiency Often Affect Older Adults?
Although the body really needs very little B12 each day and a healthy body can store the vitamin for years before running out, there are a few common causes of the deficiency, particularly in older adults and the elderly.
- Surgeries which remove parts of the stomach or small intestine responsible for processing and storing B12.
- Low stomach acid levels that can affect the body’s ability to process and store the vitamin. This can also be caused by a weakening of the stomach lining.
- Medications (such as those for diabetes) that limit B12 absorption.
- Diseases such as Crohn’s disease and other stomach disorders which make it more difficult for the body to process and absorb the vitamin.
How is B12 Deficiency Diagnosed?
The first step to diagnosing B12 deficiency is to undergo a blood test that analyzes the body’s serum vitamin B12 levels. It’s important to note that just because a patient doesn’t have anemia does not necessarily mean they aren’t suffering from low B12 levels. Often, doctors will also test for methylmalonic acid, which will be higher in patients with a B12 deficiency.
How is B12 Deficiency Treated?
If you’ve been found to have a B12 deficiency, your doctor may want to run additional tests to determine its cause. The most common form of treatment is intramuscular shots of the vitamin, often around 1,000 micrograms of B12. Those with more serious deficiencies may also be required to take oral supplements ranging from 1-2,000 additional micrograms per day. Many local clinics will gladly be able to provide older patients and seniors with the necessary daily doses.
Contact us for your B12 deficiency solution!
If you’re concerned you may have a B12 deficiency or require regular doses of B12 shots near you or vitamins, Surfside Urgent Care in Laguna Beach is happy to help. Contact us online today or call (949) 715-7278.