Vitamin B12 deficiency: Do your feet feel like this? The ‘prickling’ pain to avoid
Vitamin B12 is a crucial ingredient for the healthy running of the body, as it’s needed to make red blood cells. Signs of a deficiency can develop very slowly, so it may be difficult to diagnose the condition.
People with undiagnosed symptoms should consider that they may have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
While it’s unlikely that your symptoms are caused by the condition, there are still many people that have a lack of B12.
A quick blood test could reveal whether you should be adding more B12 to your diet.
One of the earliest warning signs of a B12 deficiency is the persistent feeling of pins and needles.
Pins and needles – or paresthesia – may be caused by nerve damage, according to dietitian Helen West.
Nerve damage is one of the more long-term side effects of a B12 deficiency, she said.
You may feel a prickling sensation in your feet, although it could also develop in your hands.
Some patients have also reported a burning or cold feeling in their extremities.
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“Unfortunately, symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to show up, and diagnosing it can be complex,” said West.
She told medical website Healthline: “One of the more serious side effects of a long-term B12 deficiency is nerve damage.
“One common sign of this happening is paresthesia, or the sensation of pins and needles, which is similar to a prickling sensation in your hands and feet.
“That said, sensations of pins and needles are a common symptom that can have many causes, so this symptom alone is not usually a sign of B12 deficiency.”
Everyone can develop pins and needles at some point in their lifetime, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a B12 deficiency.
It’s usually caused by the blood supply to the nerves being cut off.
Pins and needles usually only lasts a few minutes, and is most likely to develop after sitting or sleeping on your hands or feet.
You should, however, speak to a doctor if you constantly have pins and needles, or if it keeps coming back.
More common warning signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include tiredness, jaundice, and shortness of breath.
You should speak to a doctor if you’re worried about vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.
But you can top up on the vitamin by eating certain foods.
The best sources of vitamin B12 include beef, liver, dairy foods, eggs, and salmon.
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