Vitamin B12 deficiency occurs when a lack of vitamin B12 or folate affects the body’s ability to produce fully functioning red blood cells.
A condition known as pernicious anaemia is the most common cause in the UK, but some people can develop vitamin B12 deficiency as a result of not getting enough vitamin B12 from their diet.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a variety of symptoms. But according to an article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), in many people, neurological symptoms are the main presenting symptoms.
It says neurological symptoms occur in 85 percent of vitamin B12 deficiency cases, and eight symptoms fall under this.
Paresthesia refers to a burning or prickling sensation that is usually felt in the hands, arms, legs, or feet, but can also occur in other parts of the body.
Numbness describes a loss of feeling in a part of the body. It can also describe other changes in sensation, such as a burning feeling or pins-and-needles.
Poor balance can include losing your balance while walking or feeling imbalanced.
Tinnitus is the name for hearing noises that don’t come from an outside source. The NHS says tinnitus can sound like ringing, buzzing, whoosing, humming, hissing, throbbing and music or singing.
Ataxia is a term for a group of disorders that affect coordination, balance and speech.
The NHS says any part of the body can be affected, but people with ataxia often have difficulties with balance and walking, speaking, swallowing, takes that require a high degree of control, such as writing and eating, and vision.
Myelopathy is a condition caused by spinal compression. According to the Cleveland Clinic, common symptoms include pain in your neck or back, tingling, numbness or weakness your arms, hands, legs or feet, difficulty with fine motor skills, such as buttoning a shirt, balance or coordination issues, changes to reflexes in your extremities, and loss of bladder or bowel control.
Spasticity is abnormal muscle tightness due to prolonged muscle contraction.
Autonomic dysfunction occurs when the autonomic nervous system is damaged. Symptoms include dizziness and fainting upon standing, digestive difficulties and sweating abnormalities.
If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to your GP.