Pune: Around 37 per cent women and 35 per cent men between the age group of 20 and 35 years are vitamin B12 deficient. City-based doctors note that the trend of vitamin B12 deficiency is a result of lifestyle disorders and can cause anemia, difficulty in thinking, tiredness, sleepiness during day, sudden weakness and fatigue.
According to data furnished by Indus Health Plus, out of all cases among women, 11.76 per cent were found to be borderline deficient and 9.64 per cent were found to be completely deficient. Among men, 10.21 per cent cases were found to be borderline deficient and 8.10 per cent were found to be completely deficient.
Ignorance among patients
Statistics from Indus Health Plus indicate that during counselling of patients, it was observed that around 70 per cent of overall patients were ignorant about the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency.
Speaking about her undiagnosed B12 deficiency, Sneha Kondalkar said that though her diet was proper and healthy, yet she was suffering from severe weight loss.
“Then my doctor asked me to get tests done for the deficiency. The normal B12 is level expected is 600. However, mine was 200. I was then administered with injections as a curative measure. There has been no significant symptom that I recall. Only, in-spite of a proper diet, my weight didn’t increase. The doctors attributed the deficiency to this problem,” said Kondalkar.
Doctors also mentioned that deficiency of vitamin B12 among men has increased because of self-ignorance. This has led to improper flow of blood that has increased the risk of heart ailments. Almost 18-20 per cent of deficient men from the age group of 35-50 years are under the risk of heart diseases.
Adverse effects on the body
Most women from the age group of 20 to 35 years were found to be low in hemoglobin levels as well as folate levels. These women are of reproductive age and these deficiencies can pose problems during conceiving. Due to vitamin B12 deficiency, 23 per cent of women from all age groups are suffering from cardiovascular ailments such as constipation, gas, loss of appetite and acidity.
Speaking on the effect of the deficiency on the overall wellbeing of the body, Dr Aarti Nimkar, Secretary of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Pune, said the risk of heart ailments increases. “Vitamin B12 deficiency increases the risk of anemia due to low levels of hemoglobin resulting in difficulty in thinking, tiredness or sleepiness during day or work time, sudden weakness and fatigue. The deficiency of vitamin B12 is increasing year-on-year due to improper food habits and insufficient diet,” said Nimkar. She further cautioned that the lack of vitamin B12 also increases the chances of various neurological problems, including paralysis or brain hemorrhage.