Vitamin deficiency anemia in seniors is a very real threat and often is misdiagnosed for other conditions for very good reasons; the symptoms
It is also the most common form that affects people in our group and is believed to affect anywhere from 15% to 20% of us.
It can become a very dangerous condition if not properly diagnosed, and as mentioned, is often confused with other conditions.
I know this for a fact, as me and my wife witnessed it first hand, and thankfully we kept pursuing it until we did indeed get the correct diagnosis
Vitamin deficiency anemia in seniors is a condition where our red blood cells have been severely compromised because they lack 3 key nutrients.
However, if may also be caused by our bodies inability to absorb these nutrients.
They include B12, vitamin C, and folate, a B class of vitamin more commonly known as folic acid or B-9.
However, by far and away the most dangerous and widespread shortage is with vitamin B 12.
How many times have you seen first-hand or knew of a friend, relative, or a parent that was lacking the proper nutrition for numerous reasons, and as a result, was given a shot of B12.
This is the reason why. If you are in our group and a vegan, you just doubled your risk factor.
The symptoms of vitamin deficiency anemia in seniors are similar to general anemia, but the list is even more extensive.
They include the following
Here is our first-hand experience with Vitamin deficiency anemia in seniors.
We became caregivers for my wife’s mother in an emergency situation where she flew back to our hometown, and made the decision to bring her mother back home with her.
She was in very, very poor health and was given only 1-2 months to live, as we were told she had congestive heart failure.
We lived in Florida at the time, and hospice of Florida reviewed all of her records and agreed with the diagnosis, and told us to plan as she only had a very short time left.
We did not know any better, but to this day I remember what my father-in-law told me as he took in both of his parents at the same time; always, with no exceptions, get a second opinion.
So we did, and actually got a 3rd opinion as well.
She was from a small town in Idaho and had used the same doctor for 30 plus years. We used as one of the different opinions, Shands hospital ran by the University of Florida.
We were told by both highly respected medical intuitions that she DID NOT have congestive heart failure, instead, she had vitamin deficiency anemia in seniors.
In her case, her B 12 readings were at danger levels, and she was severely under-nourished and something had to be done immediately.
We were also told that this condition is very easy to misdiagnosis if the proper tests are not run.
And just for the record, she lived with us from that point on another 7 ½ years, and was in overall good health until the final 2 months.
Here are the three potential causes of Vitamin deficiency anemia in seniors.
It is estimated by several medical experts that about 5% of us 60 years or older have a shortage of B 9 or folate, but somewhere between 13% and 18% have a shortage of B12.
A shortage or deficiency of vitamin C is not very common, unless you are a smoker.
A deficiency of folate is almost always the result of our body’s inability to absorb it into our system.
If you have any kind of small intestine issues such as celiac disease, especially in our age group, you are at risk of this potential cause.
Most all anti-seizure medications can also slow the absorption of this nutrient. as well as excessive drinking.
A shortage of Vitamin B12, however, is an entirely separate issue, and here are some of the potential causes.
Tapeworm infestation is most commonly the result of eating fish that has been contaminated, and this is one of the major reason a lot of people do not eat fish.
However, by far and away the most common reason is our intrinsic factor.
Our intrinsic factor is really not a factor; instead it is more of a process,
When we eat, there is a protein referred to as the” intrinsic factor” that waits for and then joins B12 in our stomachs. Once there, they travel together to our small intestines.
Once it reaches our small intestines, it is then absorbed into our blood stream and assists in several key tasks in our body.
If you have any type of immune weakness or worse yet, an autoimmune disorder, it is not absorbed. If it is not absorbed by this process, it does the only thing it can do.
It leaves our body as waste.
In my wife’s mother case, the early results indicated she might have an autoimmune disorder of some type, where stomach acids were mistakenly attacking her intrinsic factor.
However, the final diagnosis was that she was taking way too many medications and this was interfering with this process, and as a result, she and very little B 12 in her body.
Here are the major risk factors of a
lack or shortage of B 12 that can trigger
Vitamin deficiency anemia in seniors.
Not enough B12 can easily be triggered if you are Vegan or Vegetarians.
However, I have an older daughter that is a Vegetarian and has been for years. Most people in this category, especially as we age, understand that you have to supplement it.
Heavy alcohol usage easily drains this nutrient for our body, and this is the reason anyone treated for alcohol abuse is given an injection of it as the first treatment.
But what is not as well-known, are the medication that can trigger it.
Some of them include heartburn and ulcer medications, drugs for congestive heart failure, certain medications for gout, and high cholesterol drugs.
In the case of my wife’s mother, as soon as we took her off of 2/3’s of the 32 medications she was on, especially the ones for congestive heart failure she never had, it was corrected.
The proof is she lived another 7 ½ years in very good health.
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