When a person has lower than the required amount of specific vitamins, it affects the overall blood cell count in the body. The low blood count results in vitamin deficiency anemia and related health problems.
Folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin C are the major vitamins that is linked to vitamin deficiency anemia. The deficiency happens when a person does not eat foods containing enough of folate and other vitamins or if the body has trouble in absorbing and processing the vitamins.
Vitamin deficiency anemia is a condition that requires your doctor’s intervention and treatment, which will consist of vitamin supplements and changes to your diet.
Symptoms of vitamin deficiency anemia
There are obvious signs and symptoms to indicate vitamin deficiency anemia like constant fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, yellow skin, irregular heartbeat, weight loss, numbness or tingling in your hands and feet, muscle weakness, behavior changes, unsteady gait and mental confusion or forgetfulness.
Vitamin deficiency anemia has a slow progress but as the deficiency progresses, the symptoms will also increase.
What causes vitamin deficiency anemia?
Vitamin deficiency anemia occurs when there is a shortage of vitamins in the body needed to produce enough red blood cells. The red blood cells function to carry oxygen from the lungs to the various parts of our body.
The various vital vitamins and the result of their deficiency include:
Folate deficiency: Folate is nothing but vitamin B9, a nutrient found in fruits and leafy green vegetables. A diet lacking in these foods can lead to folate deficiency and resultant problems. Folate deficiency occurs mainly due to small intestine surgery, celiac disease, alcohol drinking and certain medications. Pregnant women and those undergoing dialysis will also experience a higher requirement for folate.
Vitamin B12 deficiency: The deficiency of vitamin B12 happens due to a diet lacking in products like meat, eggs and milk. A condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the intrinsic factor a substance in the body also causes B12 deficiency. Some people will experience difficulty in absorbing vitamin B12 in the small intestine, causing anemia. The disease of the small intestine, bacterial growth, Crohn’s disease, and tapeworm attack also are main causes.
Vitamin C deficiency: Vitamin C deficiency develops due to a diet deficient in the vitamin or due to the body’s inability to absorb the vitamin. Smoking is a major cause of this condition. Certain chronic illnesses like cancer, kidney disease also increase the risk of deficiency.
What are the complications of the condition?
Pregnant women experiencing vitamin deficiency anemia will have complications in pregnancy and even lead to premature birth. The untreated condition can cause neurological problems like persistent tingling sensation in the limbs, mental confusion and forgetfulness. The deficiency also causes scurvy with excessive bleeding under the skin and in the gums.
How to prevent vitamin deficiency anemia?
Choosing a healthy diet is one significant preventive action against vitamin deficiency anemia. Foods rich in folates like green vegetables, nuts and fruits can be taken. Eggs, meat, cheese and seafood will provide vitamin B12 and foods like broccoli, citrus fruits, green peppers and tomatoes can help in providing the necessary vitamin C.
Vitamin supplements, quitting smoking and drinking in moderation can all contribute to keep the body well supplied with vitamins and thus prevent vitamin deficiency anemia.