Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms: The sign in your vision you could be lacking B12

Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when the autoimmune system attacks cells in the stomach – named pernicious anaemia. There’s a sign in your vision that you could be lacking the nutrient.

Inside the stomach there’s a protein called intrinsic factor.

Someone suffering from pernicious anaemia has an immune system that attacks cells in the stomach.

Specifically, the immune system targets cells that are responsible for making intrinsic factor.

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Usually, intrinsic factor combines with vitamin B12 – sourced from food – and travels to a part of the gut called the distal ileum.

Here, the mixture of vitamin B12 and intrinsic factor is absorbed into the body.

This enables the nutrient to benefit the body’s red blood cells, nerve cells and DNA.

With pernicious anaemia, this doesn’t happen – instead, prolonged absence of vitamin B12 leads to symptoms.

Researchers from Mahidol University, Thailand, did a case study on a young man who had some of his bowel removed.

Having suffered from gangrene at a young age, the boy had his parts of his bowel – including the ileum – cut out at 11 years old.

At the time of the study, the 19-year-old has low levels of vitamin B12 in his body.

This would make sense, as the part of the bowel where vitamin B12 is usually absorbed – the ileum – had been cut out.

He also had less than the normal number of cells in his bone marrow – called hypocellular – and the bone marrow is where red blood cells are created.

He had complained of blurred vision and his visual acuity was 5/200.

Treatment was intramuscular injections of 1,000 micrograms of cyanocobalamin – a man-made form of vitamin B12.

Four months later, the man’s visual acuity improved, as did his levels of vitamin B12 and the bone marrow returned to normal functioning.

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The researchers concluded: “This is a frank case of optic neuropathy in a patient with vitamin B12 deficiency due to a massive small bowel resection.”

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency

The NHS confirms “disturbed vision” is one symptom caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Others include depression, irritability, and changes in the way you walk and move around.

Additionally, some people may experience mouth ulcers, pins and needles, and a pale yellow tinge to the skin.

Treatment

Treatment for a vitamin B12 deficiency is injections of man-made versions of the nutrient.

This would either be hydroxocobalamin or cyanocobalamin – the latter was the treatment option for the boy in the case study.

In the UK, hydroxocobalamin is the recommended option as it stays in the body for longer.

These injections will be administered by a medical professional, such as a nurse or doctor.

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Heart attack: Worst food group which significantly raises your risk

Heart attacks occur when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked. A lack of blood to the heart may seriously damage the heart muscle and can prove deadly. When it comes to one’s diet, aiming for five portions of fruits and vegetables will help to keep the heart healthy. When it comes to a food which does the opposite, there is one that should be avoided as much as possible.

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When a heart attack occurs, it can disrupt a person’s normal heart rhythm, potentially stopping it altogether.

When the heart stops getting a supply of blood during a heart attack, some of the tissue can die.

This can weaken the heart and later cause life-threatening conditions such as heart failure.

Heart attacks can affect the heart valve and cause leaks.

Keeping healthy and active are some of the best methods to reduce having a heart attack and spotting early signs is also crucial.

When it comes to being healthy and reducing your risk of serious conditions, eating bacon should be avoided.

More than half of bacon’s calories come from saturated fat.

Saturated fat raises the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol and boost the chance of a heart attack or stroke.

Bacon also contains high amounts of salt which bumps up the blood pressure and makes the heart work harder.

High amounts of sodium can lead to stroke, heart disease and heart failure.

Bacon’s added preservatives are linked to these issues as well.

A study of almost 30,000 people followed for up to three decades found those who regularly consumed processed meat such as bacon were more prone to premature death.

In particular, having red or processed meat every seven days was linked to a three percent to seven percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Senior author of the study, Norrina Allen, professor of preventative medicine at Northwestern University, Chicago said: “It is a small difference, but it’s worth trying to reduce red meat and processed meat like pepperoni and deli meats.

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Red meat includes beef, lamb, pork, veal and venison.

Processed is bacon, sausages, hot dogs, salami and corned beef.

The study published in JAMA Internal Medicine included self-reported diets over the previous year or month of 29,682 men and women with an average age of 53.

Lead author Dr Victor Zhong said: “Modifying intake of these animal protein foods may be an important strategy to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death at a population level.”

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute said: “The major risk factors for a heart attack include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight and obesity, an unhealthy diet, lack of routine physical activity, high blood sugar due to insulin resistance or diabetes.

“Some of these risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar tend to occur together.

“When they do, it’s called metabolic syndrome. In general, a person who has metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as someone who doesn’t have metabolic syndrome.”

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Patients with prostate cancer to get pills at home instead of chemotherapy

Recently sufferers had been dealt a double blow of being told they had the killer disease but could not be given treatment. Targeted hormonal therapies enzalutamide and abiraterone will now be temporarily available after new guidance from NHS England. The tablets will allow patients to minimise their risk of infection by staying away from hospitals.

Previously they were only for men who had tried other forms of hormone treatment.

Prostate Cancer UK said about 1,000 men will benefit from the change over the next three months.

The charity’s Heather Blake said: “This is fantastic news for newly diagnosed men. Until now, they have been faced with the distressing prospect that chemotherapy – which could extend their life by 15 months – was not being made available due to the increased risk from Covid-19.”

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, welcomed the move but said it had taken too long. Professor Nick James, who is researching how best to treat prostate cancer, said the drugs were “smarter, kinder treatments”.

Stuart Fraser, 66, who was diagnosed in February, started a petition for the drugs to made available to men in his situation. He is now been prescribed enzalutamide.

The father of two, from Ashtead, Surrey, said: “Being diagnosed was a huge shock. What made it even more worrying was that – because of coronavirus – I was told I couldn’t have the usual treatment of chemotherapy, which would have affected my immune system. That’s why it’s such great news that NHS England have made this change.”

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