B12 Deficiency Anemia and Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia
Anemia is a blood disorder that is the result of a low level of specific vitamins and nutrients in the blood. Anemia can be caused by a number of factors, including a poor diet. However, anemia is also often a symptom of a much more serious problem, such as internal bleeding, so it is a good idea to speak with a doctor first, instead of simply taking extra dietary supplements.
B12 Deficiency Anemia and Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia are two common types of anemia found in seniors and the elderly.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency, or pernicious anemia, is common type of blood anemia found in older adults.
With the exception of very strict vegetarians and individuals who have had some type of digestive track surgery, B12 deficiency is caused by the digestive tracks inability to process and absorb B12.
Oddly, B12 deficiency is more common among fair haired seniors, who are of northern European descent. Those with relatives who have a B12 deficiency are also at an increased risk of developing pernicious anemia.
In the body, B12 plays a very important role in producing red blood cells. It is also used by the nervous system to preform regular maintenance, so a deficiency of B12 not only causes the typical symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue and lack of energy, but it also causes numbness and tingling of the hands and feet.
These sensations are caused by damage that is occurring to the spine and brain. Some other symptoms include confusion, personality changes, depression, and can cause a change to the way an individual walks.
Dietary supplements and oral intake of B12 does not help prevent pernicious anemia, because it is characterized by the bodies inability to properly absorb B12 and not a lack of B12. Typically, treatment involves a lifetime treatment of B12 injections, which will occur on a monthly basis.
Folic Acid Deficiency Anemia
Folic Acid deficiency is a factor that can cause anemia and is more common among older adults. In most cases, folic acid anemia is caused by an inadequate dietary intake of folic acid. Folic acid can be found in leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, kidney beans, and Lima beans.
The body is unable to store folic acid, so it will typically show up much more rapidly than other causes of anemia, often within only a few weeks. Folic Acid based anemia shares similar symptoms with other types of anemia, including fatigue, loss of energy, and paleness.
While folic acid deficiency is most common in those with a poor diet, with heavy drinkers being at a much increased risk, it can also be caused by the digestive tracks inability to properly absorb folic acids, although this is much less common.
In instances of traditional folic acid deficiency, consuming folic acid tablets can typically fix the problem. The treatment usually only takes a few weeks, but it is important to pay careful attention to ones diet after being diagnosed with Folic Acid deficiency. This treatment will not wok with those whose body is unable to properly absorb folic acid, although this is much less common.