The detrimental effects of a lack of vitamin B12 were the subject of a case study that was recently published in the journal of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science.
The patient, a Caucasian male aged 56 who had been in good condition up until that point, came to the hospital with progressively worsening neuropathy and a deteriorating mental status over the course of many months.
Neuropathy is the term used to describe the condition that arises when the nerves in the extremities of the body, such as the hands, feet, and arms, get injured. A lack of vitamin B12 can lead to this serious problem.
According to the case report, the patient initially developed “numbness of his fingertips and the balls of his feet,” and he started to lose motor control of his hands, which manifested as dropping objects or flinging them as he tried to pick them up. Eventually, the patient was able to recover from his symptoms and return to normal functioning.
As the symptoms progressed, he had short-term memory loss and a slowdown of cognitive function, and he had problems with visual tracking that were severe enough to interfere with his ability to drive a car. In addition, driving a car became increasingly difficult for him.
It was determined that a lack of vitamin B12 was the cause of the patient’s clinical symptoms and laboratory findings, which led to the diagnosis of “psychomotor regression.”
The breakdown of cognitive functions as well as physical movement is what’s meant by the term “psychomotor regression.”
After that, the patient was given a series of intramuscular injections of B12, which led to a “rapid remission” of the related neurological symptoms.
After a period of two months, his B12 level had returned to normal in the follow-up examinations.
The authors of the case study made the following observation in response to the patient’s report: “Diagnosis of B12 insufficiency can be problematic due to the fact that symptoms may be ambiguous and laboratory test findings may be inconclusive.”
They stated that the patient’s clinical profile as well as his or her reaction to treatment indicated that B12 insufficiency was the cause of the patient’s deterioration.
“To our great relief, the B12 treatment completely restored even the most severe of his neurological symptoms; nevertheless, we recognize that this outcome is not guaranteed in all cases.”
They went on to say that “because the cause of the shortage is unknown, he will need to get B12 supplementation for an indeterminate amount of time.”
What are the reasons for a B12 deficiency?
In the United Kingdom, pernicious anemia is the condition that results most frequently from a lack of vitamin B12.
It is an autoimmune disorder, which means that your immune system destroys the cells in your stomach that create the intrinsic factor, which is a protein that is required to absorb vitamin B12. This results in pernicious anemia.
If a person’s diet does not provide them with an adequate amount of vitamin B12, they may be at risk for developing a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Due to a lack of B12 in his diet, he experienced a decline in his short-term memory as well as a slowdown of his cognitive function. (Photograph courtesy of Getty Images)
According to the National Health Service (NHS), a diet that consists of meat, fish, and dairy products often supplies enough vitamin B12, however individuals who do not consistently consume these items can develop a vitamin B12 deficiency.
How is a lack of vitamin B12 remedied?
The diagnosis of the root cause of vitamin B12 insufficiency is necessary in order to properly treat the illness.
The vast majority of patients are amenable to straightforward treatment in the form of injections or tablets designed to replenish the vitamins they have lost.
There are two different kinds of injections for vitamin B12:
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