Has your mobility changed? Low levels of vitamin B12 could change the way you walk
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Vitamin B12 deficiency is common, mainly due to limited dietary intake of animal foods or malabsorption of the vitamin. Vegetarians are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency as are other groups with low intakes of animal foods or those with restrictive dietary patterns. The vitamin is essential for DNA synthesis and for cellular energy production. When lacking in B12 your mobility and balance may be affected.
Given the array of symptoms a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause, the condition can be overlooked or confused with something else.
Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms may include strange sensations, numbness or tingling in the hands, feet or legs, a swollen, inflamed tongue, difficulty thinking and reasoning, weakness, fatigue anaemia or difficulty walking including staggering and balance problems.
If a vitamin B12 deficiency is left untreated, the damage to the nervous system could cause these changes to the way a person walks and moves.
It may even affect a person’s balance and coordination, making you more prone to falling.
If a vitamin B12 deficiency is left untreated, the damage to a person’s nervous system could cause changes to the way they walk and move.
It may even affect one’s balance and coordination, making a person more prone to falling.
This symptom is often seen in undiagnosed B12 deficiency in the elderly, as people over the age of 60 are more prone to a B12 deficiency.
However, preventing or treating deficiencies in this group may improve mobility.
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Over time, peripheral nerve damage resulting from vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to movement problems, said Medical News Today.
The health site continued: “Numbness in the feet and limbs may make it hard for a person to walk without support.
“They may also experience muscle weakness and diminished reflexes.”
Vitamin B12 deficiency affects 5 to 20 percent of older adults and low serum B12 levels are highly prevalent among older adults, affecting 15 to 40 percent.
Poor B12 levels are associated with worse sensory and motor peripheral nerve function.
Nerve function impairments may lead to physical function declines and disability in older adults, suggesting that prevention and treatment of low B12 levels may be important to evaluate.
See a GP if you’re experiencing symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, advises the NHS.
“These conditions can often be diagnosed based on your symptoms and the results of a blood test,” explains the health body.
It’s important for vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
As the NHS points out, 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,” the health body warns.
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