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Women have a much more difficult time absorbing vitamin B12 than men. Recent studies show that women over 40 have an increased chance of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Four to 6 percent of women in this age group develop medical issues due to a lack of vitamin B12. Certain prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can also add to a deficiency. The most well-known include some prescriptions for diabetes, along with medications for acid reflux and heartburn. People who do not eat meat may also find themselves at a higher risk for a B12 vitamin deficiency. Take a look at a few signs of B12 deficiency in women.

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Fatigue

Ongoing fatigue is typically one of the first signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency in women. Vitamin B12 is required to produce much-needed red blood cells. These ever-important cells send and distribute oxygen to all of the body's organs. Fatigue sets in when the body does not have the adequate amount of oxygen in its blood cells. This occurs even if you're consistently getting a good night's sleep. Additionally, afternoon naps may appeal to women whose schedules allow. However, even this supplemental sleep doesn't fight off the signs of fatigue. This is especially true if the body is not getting the needed amount of vitamin B12. If you are experiencing fatigue, consult with a physician. A B12 deficiency or other reasons may cause the sleep deficit.

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Dizziness

Feeling dizzy or wobbly can be signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Some people can become dizzy simply by standing up or walking up a short flight of steps. These symptoms can prove to be quite dangerous. They can cause severe falls that may themselves cause even more serious injuries. In a recent study, emergency room patients had their B12 levels tested. They were compared to the B12 levels of volunteers who showed no signs of dizziness or vertigo. The patients seeking medical help had levels of B12 that were up to 40 percent lower than those of the volunteers. Decreasing levels of vitamin B12 can cause serious symptoms and require further testing.

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Pins and Needles

Many people experience the sensation of pins and needles when sitting cross-legged or resting on an arm. Commonly, this natural phenomenon is referred to as the body part in question "falling asleep." However, strange sensations, like electrified pinches, throughout the body with no obvious cause may indicate a B12 vitamin deficiency. Some patients report a feeling as if an electrical current is running from their fingers up their arms. Any type of tingling or numbness in the body can be a symptom of nerve damage. It may be a result of lack of oxygen in the red blood cells, which may indicate lack of vitamin B12.

signs of b12 deficiency women's health
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Memory Loss

Everyone experiences a little bit of forgetfulness from time to time, especially when tired or under stress. However, when common forgetfulness becomes the norm, it could indicate a B12 vitamin deficiency. If you are in your later years, don't immediately jump to thoughts of Alzheimer's and dementia. Instead, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to have your B12 levels tested. A simple regimen of supplements may bring back your memory and quick wit in no time.

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Pale Skin

Complexion is affected by various factors including genetics and exposure to sunlight. However, pale skin is also a symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency. Lack of healthy red blood cells carrying adequate oxygen can cause the skin to take on a paler appearance. With a deficiency, the red blood cells can be extremely weak and break easily. This causes the release of a pigment called bilirubin. Excess bilirubin causes the skin to take on a yellow hue, known as jaundice.

signs of b12 deficiency in women

Anxiety

Many people experience anxiety, often paired with mood swings and even depression. If there's a logical reason for the anxiety, the symptoms typically lessen over time. However, signs of anxiety for no good reason may stem in part from a lack of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is necessary for good mental health, including the essential processes and functions of the brain. It also promotes positive emotional and mental health. Vitamin B12 gives people the necessary energy to face the day with a positive outlook.

anxiety signs of b12 deficiency

Vision Problems

Vision problems include seeing spots, having blurry vision, catching shadows in the corners of their eyes and seeing double. Causes include lack of sleep, problems with contact lenses or eyeglasses and even staring at a screen for too long. However, impaired vision may also be directly related to a lack of vitamin B12. The eye's blood vessels can become blocked when there is a deficiency. This blockage can cause damage to the retina and subsequently to the optic nerve. These symptoms very rarely ever result in permanent damage, as B12 supplements typically restore vision quickly. Schedule an appointment if your vision problems are consistent and do not seem to be waning.

vision signs of b12 deficiency

Decrease in Muscle Strength

When feelings of muscle tiredness do not fade over a few days, a B12 vitamin deficiency could be the culprit. B12 provides oxygen to blood cells that carry it to the muscles. When muscles don't receive the required amount of oxygen, they become lethargic and sometimes even sore. If you experience extended sluggishness and uncharacteristic weakness, ask your doctor if a deficiency in B12 is to blame.

signs of b12 deficiency

Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.