Seniors and Vitamin B12

One important role for aging well is that of good nutrition and making sure that the levels of nutrients is adequate. You may not know this, but many seniors develop a serious deficiency with one particular vitamin even when they eat a healthy diet and take a daily multivitamin. The vitamin is B12.

A healthy level of vitamin B12 is essential as it helps to make red blood cells and it keeps our nerve cells functioning. The benefits of vitamin B12 for seniors includes boosting cognition, supporting bone health, supporting the immune system and generating cell growth. You can get vitamin B12 through foods fortified with it, from consuming animal products (fish, eggs and poultry) and taking multivitamins.

As one ages, their body naturally gets worse with absorbing vitamins. Because of this condition, seniors are incredibly at risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency. Other risk factors of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency for seniors includes drinking heavily, following a vegan diet, certain medical conditions that relate to the intestines and stomach and taking certain prescribed medications.

When a senior develops a deficiency with vitamin B12, they can develop anemia. When one is possibly anemic, their blood does not contain enough healthy red blood cells. Anemia can cause fatigue and shortness of breath.

Various symptoms of a deficiency of vitamin B12 in seniors includes:

  • Memory problems
  • Tingling sensations in feet or hands
  • Pale or jaundiced skin
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath or dizziness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Blurry vision
  • Inflamed tongue

It is actually quite common for a vitamin B12 deficiency to be missed in a diagnosis. The symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can be overlooked as some think it is attributing to something else. A vitamin B12 deficiency is also something that progresses very slowly over time. Even when it is mild form of a deficiency, it eventually gets worse over time.

If left untreated, symptoms of a deficiency with vitamin B12 can get worse over time and cause irreversible problems involving the brain and nerves. It is important to seek medical advice without delay should any symptoms be present.

The good news is that there are treatments for a vitamin B12 deficiency. Your senior loved one’s healthcare professionals will decide if an intramuscular shot or oral vitamin is necessary for the treatment of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

If an elderly loved one is exhibiting these symptoms, speak with a doctor in order to have a blood test done to see whether there is vitamin B12 deficiency. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can often be overlooked since the symptoms are commons for other medical issues. Let’s help our loved ones by protecting them from deficiencies that are easily detectable and treatable. 

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