Vitamin deficiency anemia, as the name indicates, is the anemia caused by lack of vitamins needed for the production of red blood cells.
Less than normal levels of red blood cells or hemoglobin in blood is called anemia.
Vitamin B 12, vitamin B 6, and folate are essential for the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to different parts of the body. Vitamin deficiency anemia is very common among elderly people who have reduced appetite.
Vegetarians also have an increased risk of developing this anemia as meat is one of the main sources of vitamin B 12.
Lack of vitamins lead to fatigue and weakness. Healthy diet rich in vitamins improves the condition and is one of the most effective ways of treating vitamin deficiency anemia.
Symptoms of vitamin deficiency anemia are similar to that of other types of anemia, and develop gradually over a period of time.
Fatigue, weakness and pale skin are the most obvious symptoms. Other symptoms are:
Insufficient amounts of vitamins for producing red blood cells is the most important cause of vitamin deficiency anemia. Lack of enough vitamins in the diet and problems in the absorption of nutrients from the food lead to vitamin deficiency.
Folate deficiency anemia
Diet lacking folate is the common cause of this deficiency. Conditions like celiac disease affects the absorption of vitamins from the intestine and can cause folate deficiency.
People who had bariatric surgery may also develop vitamin deficiency. Certain medications like anti-seizure drugs and alcohol abuse lead to anemia due to reduced absorption of folate.
Pregnancy, breast-feeding, and hemodialysis increase the demand for folate, and hence reduced supply of the vitamin in diet will lead to anemia.
Lack of vitamin B 12 in diet and insufficient absorption from the intestine are the main causes of pernicious anemia.
Vitamin B 12 deficiency is also associated with higher levels of methylmalonic acid in blood.
Absorption of vitamin B 12 is checked by Schilling test. In this test, radioactive vitamin B 12 is ingested to track the absorption into blood and intestine.
Vitamin supplements and changes in diet are the main treatment methods for controlling vitamin deficiency anemia.
Folate deficiency anemia can be controlled by having folate supplements and a healthy diet.
Supplements can be stopped when the folate levels in blood reach the normal levels. Vitamin B 12 deficiency is also corrected with supplements and diet. For severe form of vitamin B 12 deficiency, vitamin injections are given. Vitamin C tablets are given for controlling vitamin C deficiency that leads to anemia.
Increasing the intake of these vitamins in diet also helps to alleviate symptoms of anemia.
Healthy diet is the best way to prevent vitamin deficiency anemia.
Including sources of different vitamins like:
green leafy vegetables,
and enriched grains
are ideal to prevent anemia.
For people who have a restricted diet, multivitamins are suggested. Alcohol use and smoking interferes the absorption of vitamins in intestine.
Avoiding or reducing the use of alcohol and quitting smoking help to prevent anemia.
7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies
A few alternative and homeopathic remedies exist for vitamin deficiency anemia.
Ferrum metallicum and aletris farinosa reduce weakness, paleness and fatigue.
Picric acid and phosphorous are suggested in homeopathy for the treatment of pernicious anemia.
Alumina, nux vomica and calcarea phos are used to control anemia caused by nutritional disturbances.
Some of the common home remedies for anemia are beef liver, beets, and spinach.
8 Lifestyle and Coping
Healthy diet is essential to boost energy levels and to cope with vitamin deficiency anemia.
Take supplements as per requirement.
9 Risks and Complications
Vitamin deficiency anemia may lead to complications in pregnancy, nervous system disorder, and scurvy.
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