Vitamin B12 deficiency: Three symptoms found on the feet that could impact your walk

Dr Dawn Harper on signs of vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiency

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As many as 20 percent of people are borderline B12 deficient. Those susceptible to a deficiency include strict vegetarians or vegans, adults over 50, and individuals with gastrointestinal disorders, such as celiac disease (gluten intolerance) and Crohn’s disease. Symptoms found on your feet are signs not to ignore as they could later lead to diminished walking and standing.

A lack of B12 damages the myelin sheath that surrounds and protect nerves.

Without this protection, nerves cease to function properly and conditions such as peripheral neuropathy occur.

Even B12 deficiency that is relatively mild may affect the nervous system and the proper functioning of the brain.

Over time, peripheral nerve damage resulting from vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to movement problems, said Medical News Today.

The health site added: “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.”

Nerve damage caused by an insufficient amount of the vitamin can also affect one’s balance and ability to walk.

This too can become permanent if not treated, so it’s important to mention to your doctor if the issue arises.

Treatment for vitamin B12 deficiency and nerve damage depends on what’s causing the condition.

Other signs of a B12 deficiency include:

  • Weakness, tiredness, or light-headedness
  • Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • smooth tongue
  • Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking
  • Vision loss
  • Mental problems like depression, memory loss, or behavioural changes

A vitamin B12 deficiency can easily be diagnosed via a blood test.

How to respond

See a GP if you’re experiencing symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, advises the NHS.

The health body added: “These conditions can often be diagnosed based on your symptoms and the results of a blood test.”

It’s important for vitamin B12 deficiency to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

“Although many of the symptoms improve with treatment, some problems caused by the condition can be irreversible if left untreated,” warns the NHS.

“The longer the condition goes untreated, the higher the chance of permanent damage.”
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