Vitamin B12 is an important member of B group of vitamins. Deficiency may develop as a result of improper dietary regimes where food rich in vitamin B12 is not consumed enough or it can be taken in appropriate amounts but due to certain digestive disorders and illnesses its absorption is reduced.
If the level of B12 is slightly reduces a condition may be asymptomatic. Still prolonged deficiency lead to specific symptoms and signs of consequent megaloblastic anemia. In seriously neglected cases one may even experience dramatic and permanent damage to the nervous system. An extreme example of B12 deficiency is combined degeneration of spinal cord.
In the beginning patient feels exhaustion and may complain about the fall in concentration and memory problems. Irritability and nervousness may be present as well. Since this vitamin possesses huge impact on seeping even problems with sleep may occur. Nerves are maintained by the appropriate supply with B12 vitamin. In case of its absence nerves are destroyed and the change in sensations such as numbness, tingling and pricking sensations eventually develop. The patient will also complain on loss of appetite. In neglected cases ataxia also known as staggering gait may occur.
The changes may be present within mouth or on the skin. Tongue can be reddish and it prickles. Edges of the tongue are most affected. There may be cracks in the corners of the moth. The skin is covered with white spots which eventually become rather dry. The predilection places includes forearms. However any body part can be affected.
One may experience intensive piercing pain in the palm. If deficiency is not brought under control the pain may spread and affect the whole edge of the hand and is especially strong in wrist extension.
In severe cases so called nerve shock is possible. It presents with sensations of electrical discharge and may happen along the ribs or in hip area. Problems with breathing including shortness of breath are common in severe deficiencies.
One may feel sharp and sudden facial pain. Facial spasms if present mostly affect the eye.
It is not unusual that a person suffering from B12 deficiency also suffers from migraine headaches. Almost always before the migraine is about to occur a so called aura develops. Aura represents a group of feelings and symptoms one notices right before the headache. These headaches are followed with vomiting.
And finally one may present obvious changes in character and become depressed. There are even cases of mania and psychosis.