Good nutrition is an important aspect of aging well. One of the key aspects of good nutrition for people advancing in age is having an adequate amount of vitamin B12 in their bodies. We all need this vitamin, known as cobalamin, to create parts of our DNA, keep our nerve cells working, and make red blood cells. We obtain vitamin B12 from consuming animal products, multivitamins as well as foods fortified with vitamins.
What Are the Possible Causes?
Most people are able to have enough vitamin B12 from the food they consume, with supplements or a mix of both. However, our bodies naturally become worse at absorbing this vitamin as we age, so people advancing in age face a higher risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency even though they still have enough of it in their diet. In fact, up to 20 percent of people who are over the age of 50 have a vitamin B12 deficiency. On top of the increased risk from aging, an individual’s risk of vitamin B12 deficiency is increased if they:
- Have medical conditions involving the stomach or small intestine such as Crohn’s disease
- Have had weight loss surgery or other surgery that removed parts of those organs
- Take certain medications to treat diabetes or antacids for stomach acid problems
- Drink heavily
- Follow a vegetarian or vegan diet
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
There are various symptoms that result from a vitamin B12 deficiency. An example is a form of anemia, which is a condition where the blood does not have sufficient healthy red blood cells. The symptoms usually appear slowly as the deficiency progresses from a less serious to a more serious form. The deficiency symptoms can include the following:
- Inflamed tongue
- Pale or jaundiced skin
- Trouble walking
- Weakness and fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Shortness of breath or dizziness
- Tingling sensations in hands or feet
- Changes in memory, thinking, and mood
These symptoms can also be found in seniors who do not have a vitamin B12 deficiency. They can be the result of many other conditions as well. So, it is easy for doctors to miss out and not notice that there is a vitamin B12 deficiency present in the person. If you have a loved one who experienced some of these symptoms or risk factors mentioned, you can ask their doctor to do a blood test for them to check their vitamin B12 levels.
Rittenhouse Village At Portage
At Rittenhouse Village At Portage, we have built the best senior living community with beautiful apartment homes and excellent amenities. Knowing more about vitamin B12 and how to identify a deficiency is important. If you or your loved one is facing low levels of vitamin B12, rest assured that it can be easily managed so do consider staying with us and we will help you with it. Feel free to contact us to find out more today!