Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Health Problems In Older People!

Common Health Problems Found in Older People Due to Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Maintaining adequate nutrients plays a key role in a senior’s health. You need to make their food habits healthier as they are aging so is their ability to digest food. Even you may have already begun encouraging your parents to eat healthily and daily consume multivitamins. But even after doing so much, many senior citizens end up having a serious deficiency disease. Most commonly this deficiency is of Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Health Problems In Older People!

When people grow old they become more prone to many vitamin deficiency diseases. The expert study estimates that up to 20% of people with the age of 50 or older may have a low intake of a vital vitamin B12. It is a very common vitamin yet serious deficiency that people overlook until it causes extreme health problems.

But you don’t have to panic as vitamin B12 treatments are safe and effective as long as you detect the problem before things go out of hand. You can help your parents detect the problems by learning the symptoms and risk factors and get them tested earlier. There are many supplements available in the market that have a rich content of Vitamin B12.

Why Is Vitamin B12 Important?

Vitamin  B12 is also known as cobalamin which is responsible for the making of red blood cells (RBC) and regulating the proper function of nerve cells.

Vitamin B12 for senior citizens is helpful in many ways as it generates cell growth, boosts cognition, supports bone health, and helps in strengthening the immune system of the body.

How does vitamin B12 deficiency cause harm to older people?

How does vitamin B12 deficiency cause harm to older people?

The most common health issue found in old age is related to the low level of Vitamin B12 which can cause

Anemia

This is the disease when a person’s red blood cells(RBC) count is low. The process of carrying oxygen in the blood is done by Red Blood Cells (RBC). So a person suffering from Anaemia will have symptoms of shortness of breath and feeling fatigued. The breakdown of the faulty Red Blood Cells may also result in causing Jaundicewhen the skin’s pigmentation turns yellow.

Neuropathy

This is a neurological problem, in this condition the nerves throughout the person’s body are not functioning properly. This causes a series of different symptoms like tingling, numbness, burning, poor balance, and difficulties while walking.

Cognitive impairment 

This is a condition where the damaged brain cells result in memory-related issues, irritability, and even dementia. To avoid this Vitamin deficiency disease, a daily allowance of vitamin  B12  for adults will be 2.4 micrograms.

Why are older people more prone to vitamin B12 deficiency?

When people get older with time, their ability to absorb vitamin B12 began to decrease. The reason being their low efficiency of developing the acids and stomach enzymes needed to process the vitamin.

Mainly the risk factors or low vitamin B12 in seniors include.

  • Low level of stomach acid, which may be the reason for the weakening of the stomach lining, or maybe due to the medication which reduces stomach acid.
  • There are some medications like metformin which is usually prescribed for diabetes interferes a lot with the absorption process of Vitamin B12.
  • Consumption of alcohol may also be the reason for an unhealthy stomach.
  • Surgeries that resulted in the removal of some or all parts of the stomach and the intestine.
  • Any other disease or problems like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease may also cause poor absorption in the stomach.

What is the way an older person is treated for deficiency of vitamin B12?

The initial stage for the treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency includes an intramuscular shot, but oral vitamins can be given too.

For intramuscular shots of vitamin B12 (1000-2000 micrograms). Any absorption problem in the stomach or the intestine is bypassed by doing this.

High dose oral vitamin B12 supplements (1000-2000 micrograms a day) this type of increasing the B12 levels in the body has shown positive results because the high dosage can regulate the body’s poor absorption. But unfortunately using supplements takes longer than an intermuscular shot to indicate the recovery in the patient. Therefore, they are not ideal for initially correcting the deficiency.  However, using supplements can help a lot to maintain a good level of Vitamin B12 in the body.

Most senior people prefer to take vitamin B12 supplements over the intermuscular shot, which is completely understandable. Taking the intermuscular shot is a painful process of gaining back the normal levels of vitamin B12 in the body. However, a person who has vitamin B12 deficiency needs to take the supplements regularly without fail. But if you see no recovery then scheduling an intermuscular shot will be a much better option.

Are high levels of vitamin B12 intake harmful?

As we know that low levels of vitamin B12 in a person’s body may lead to many health issues, you might be wondering if the high levels or high dosage has any harmful impact or not.

Fortunately, the good thing about the treatment of vitamin B12 is that it is extremely unlikely to overdose on Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12, unlike some other vitamin, has no negative effect when or if the levels are high.

Are high levels of vitamin B12 intake harmful?

If a person known to you is being treated for a deficiency of vitamin B12, you need not worry if the doctor overshoots or gives the patient a high dosage. You just need to make sure to follow up with a test to confirm a better level of vitamin B12 in your relative’s body.

There is no problem if there is an overdose of vitamin B12 level, but you need to go for a medical check-up if you witness any symptoms regarding low deficiency. Because low levels of vitamin B12 in an older person’s body may lead to different problems. And if not treated at the early stages, the deficiency may lead to more severe situations.

You as a responsible adult should keep a check on your aging parents or relative’s health so that proper actions can be taken before it gets too late.

About Alec John 19 Articles
Alec John volunteers as the Executive Editor for online news portals, and he’s also written for TBD, Newsweek, and Congressional Quarterly. He’s a graduate of the University of Maryland, where he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, Alec John has covered sports, entertainment, and many other beats in his journalism career, and has lived in New York City for more than 20 years.

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