Peculiar Symptoms Of Even Borderline Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Peculiar Symptoms Of Even Borderline Vitamin B12 Deficiency
If you have any unusual undiagnosed symptoms, perhaps you should consider whether you have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Chances are you don’t, but many people do.
Could my symptoms be caused by B12 deficiency even if my blood tests have shown a normal range?
Possibly. A blood test may reveal that your B12 level is in or near the normal range. However, it may be just below or in the lower end of that range, otherwise sometimes known as borderline, or near borderline.
If I have B12 deficiency, wouldn’t my doctor have diagnosed it already?
Not necessarily. B12 deficiency is sometimes overlooked by the medical profession even when you’ve had a blood test (actually two different tests are required to nail the deficiency down to B12).
Borderline B12 deficiency can sometimes cause symptoms so dramatic that B12 deficiency may be rejected as a possible cause because it may be thought that such symptoms wouldn’t be caused by a mere borderline deficiency. B12 deficiency sometimes goes undiagnosed until the symptoms become moderate to severe, although this is not necessarily the fault of the medical profession. The symptoms often come on so slowly that a B12-deficient individual may become accustomed to them and not complain until the symptoms become severe.
Is there an alternative to taking B12 shots for deficiency?
Yes, if the deficiency is stabilized and not too severe. There are now available sublingual tablets, which will be discussed at the end of this article.
What are some of the symptoms of B12 deficiency?
First, bear in mind that each of these symptoms can be caused by something else, often something serious. It is probably safe to say that if you have a wide range of these symptoms, the cause is much more likely to be B12 deficiency than if you have a just a couple of similar symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms, you might actually consider yourself fortunate if the cause turns out to be B12 deficiency because it is easily treatable, at least if not so far advanced that it has done permanent damage.
An effort was made to put the following symptoms more or less in order, beginning with those perhaps most likely to be indicative of B12 deficiency.
1. Itchy or tingling tongue. The tongue suddenly itches from time to time without warning. This occurs on the edge of the tongue, along one side or the other or at the tip. There is an irresistible urge to scratch the tongue on the teeth to stop the itching. Some individuals experience stinging, pain, or tingling instead of itching.
2. White spots in the skin, resulting from melatonin becoming absent in the area. These often occur on the outside of the forearm, but may occur in other places. The longer these spots are there, the whiter they get. As time goes by, the spots become very dry and flaky to the extent that small raw spots of skin may be exposed.
3. Sharp stabbing, tingling pain in the palm of one or both hands. This occurs suddenly and for no apparent reason in a spot directly below the ring finger, approximately where the first palm crease is. If B12 deficiency is not treated, a tingling pain may begin to occur along the outside edge of the hand, starting from the wrist. This pain occurs when the wrist is flexed backward.
4. Sores at the corners of the mouth, sometimes extending along the edge of the lip. These are raw spots, not blisters, and they tend to come and go.
5. Nerve shock in the side of the body. It can be felt coming on a few seconds before it hits, and then it hits almost like a mild but deep electric shock and quickly subsides. It can occur at the side of either hip or on either side of the upper body, along the ribs. Worse yet, it can occur consecutively in at least two or three locations, one right after the other.
6. Shortness of breath, but without chest pain. This can occur when walking just a few yards.
7. Eye twitch, usually in one eye or the other. It can occur on the eyelid or just below the eye. This is not usually painful, just annoying.
8. Facial pain, usually on only one side of the face at a time. This pain varies so much that it would be difficult to describe all the possibilities. It can be a dull pain in the cheek bone right underneath an eye. It can also be a sharp shooting pain across the forehead, sometimes coming downward from the scalp to the edge of the nose by the eye. This pain can be excruciating but is usually fleeting.
9. Tingling along the back of one or both thighs, staring at the hips and shooting downward. This starts out as more an annoyance than pain, but can develop into pain if not treated.
10. Memory loss and/or disorientation. For borderline deficiency, these should be mild if they occur at all. They can be severe with extreme deficiency.
11. Migraine headaches. These may be preceded by a temporary blind spot in the center of the field of vision, usually lasting about ten minutes, and sometimes followed by facial pain under the eyes. After the blind spot vanishes, there may be zigzag streaks through the vision that may last up to hours. Even in the same person, there may be extreme variations in the headaches themselves. They may be quite severe with nausea or they may be virtually nonexistent. How can it be a migraine if there’s virtually no pain? Doctors say it’s a migraine if the described visual problems occur, whether there is significant pain or not.
(Migraines of most individuals have causes other than B12 deficiency, but migraines of certain individuals diminish or stop completely after they are treated for B12 deficiency.)
12. General feeling of fatigue. Although listed last, this may be the most common symptom, but it is also a symptom of many, many other ailments.
Are there any other possible symptoms?
This list is certainly not all-inclusive. There are other possible symptoms deliberately omitted here because they’re relatively rare and/or debatable as to the actual cause. The symptoms listed here are for a borderline to mild deficiency. Extreme B12 deficiency can cause very extreme symptoms, including mental dullness, coma, and even death.