Many people are unaware of the countless adverse effects that a vitamin B12 deficiency can have on one’s health, and how common this deficiency is among seniors. If you have a loved one who is entering old age, it is important to ensure they are getting enough vitamin B12 through the form of vitamin-rich food, tablets, and B12 shots at a clinic near them.
The team at Surfside Urgent Care of Laguna Beach has explained a few reasons why seniors should be monitoring their vitamin B12 intake.
Causes and Effects of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Ailments caused by a Vitamin B12 deficiency
The function of vitamin B12 is to produce red blood cells and support the function of nerve cells in the body. A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia, jaundice, neuropathy, and serious cognitive illnesses such as dementia. A simple B12 shot could prevent seniors from losing cognitive function and feeling exhausted or dizzy.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency is Especially Harmful in Old Age
As we grow older, the body becomes depleted of many important elements such as stomach enzymes and acid. This makes it increasingly difficult for the body to absorb vitamin B12, resulting in many deficiencies among older adults.
Seniors are often misdiagnosed
Unfortunately, the symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency often coincide with common effects of old age such as fatigue and difficulty walking. For this reason, seniors may not recognize these symptoms of a deficiency, and a physician may misdiagnose a senior patient with another common ailment associated with these symptoms.
Seniors could be at higher risk
Vitamin B12 deficiency risk factors include diseases such as alcoholism, which can damage stomach absorption after years of alcohol consumption. Other risk factors are certain medications, which affect the stomach lining, and surgeries that manipulate the stomach or the small intestine. With old age, these lifelong habits and experiences can wear down the internal organs that process vitamin B12.
Multivitamins may not be enough
If internal organs are affected by illnesses, surgeries, or other risk factors, a vitamin B12 tablet or a multivitamin may not be effective as they cannot be absorbed by the body. For this reason, those with a vitamin B12 deficiency should visit a nearby clinic for a B12 shot on a regular schedule recommended by a physician.