Anemia – Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is a low red blood cell count due to a lack of vitamin B12. Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.

Certain health conditions can make it difficult for your body to absorb enough vitamin B12. They include:

Chronic alcoholism

Crohn's disease, celiac disease, infection with the fish tapeworm, or other problems that make it difficult for your body to digest foods

Pernicious anemia, a type of vitamin B12 anemia that occurs when your body destroys cells that make intrinsic factor

Surgeries that remove certain parts of your stomach or small intestine, such as some weight-loss surgeries

Taking antacids and other heartburn medicines for a long period of time

Your body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells. In order to provide vitamin B12 to your cells:

You must eat plenty of foods that contain vitamin B12, such as meat, poultry, shellfish, eggs, and dairy products.

Your body must absorb enough vitamin B12. A special protein, called intrinsic factor, helps your body do this.

This protein is released by cells in the stomach.

A lack of vitamin B12 may be due to dietary factors, including:

Eating a vegetarian diet

Poor diet in infants

Poor nutrition during pregnancy


You may not have symptoms. Symptoms may be mild.

Symptoms can include:

Diarrhea or constipation

Fatigue, lack of energy, or light-headedness when standing up or with exertion

Loss of appetite

Pale skin

Problems concentrating

Shortness of breath, mostly during exercise

Swollen, red tongue or bleeding gums

If you have low vitamin B12 levels for a long time, you can have nerve damage.

Symptoms of nerve damage include:

Confusion or change in mental status (dementia) in severe cases


Loss of balance

Numbness and tingling of hands and feet

Exams and Tests
Our diet service can be made much easier for you, if you follow simple guidelines:-

1) No outside food is allowed in this hospital, only food recommended by your doctor and strict Jain vegetarian food will be served to all.

2) You will be served food as prescribed by your Doctor. if you need any special diet or food inform your consultant / dietician .

3) No service for relatives & visitors is allowed in the room.

4) The service sequence will be as follows :- Morning tea, Breakfast, Morning soup, Lunch, Evening tea, Evening soup, Dinner & Health Drink.

5) Hospital Dietician will visit you once a day to get your feedback and discuss your diet plan.

6) Room Service other than regular patient diets will not be provided. You can purchase snacks, juices, tea and coffee for one patient relative.

7) Snacks on wheel service is available on the floor twice a day for your convenience.


Treatment depends on the cause of B12 deficiency anemia. For treatment of anemia due to a lack of intrinsic factor, see:Pernicious anemia

The goal of treatment is to increase your vitamin B12 levels.

Treatment may include a shot of vitamin B12 once a month. Persons with severely low levels of B12 may need more shots in the beginning. You may need shots every month for the rest of your life.

Some patients may also need to take vitamin B12 supplements by mouth. For some people, high-dose vitamin B12 tablets taken by mouth work well, and shots are not needed.

Outlook (Prognosis)

With treatment, patients usually do well.

Long-term vitamin B12 deficiency can cause nerve damage. This may be permanent if you do not start treatment within 6 months of when your symptoms begin.

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You can prevent anemia caused by a lack of vitamin B12 by following a well-balanced diet.

Shots of vitamin B12 can prevent anemia after surgeries known to cause vitamin B12 deficiency.

Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can reduce or prevent complications related to low vitamin B12 levels.