VITAMIN B12 DEFICIENCY

Five months ago "Hamster" very kindly replied to my post regarding how devastated I was regarding "Hair Loss". It was suggested at the time that I could have a mal-absorption problem caused by radical surgery for duodenal ulcers in the 70's.

I didn't make an appointment with the GP straight away (which was a bit stupid) - I was working at the time - however, I was becoming more and more poorly so tired, hurting and aching all over. By the time I finished my temp job a couple of weeks ago I was getting in from work and having to go straight to bed. I made an appointment to see the GP straight away and suggested what I thought may be wrong with me. I was so lucky my bloods were taken by the nurse the same day because of a cancellation, if not it would have taken about 3 weeks before I got any results.

The following week I read copious amounts about B12 deficiency and mal-absorption and went armed with the British Medical Journal's results table for Best Practice diagnosis. I was told I did not have a mal-absorption problem as the results had come back within "normal." I was devastated almost in tears I said can you give me the results, the only one given was the Blood Serum B12 ng/L which came out at 350. I was not given the B12 nmol/ml result nor the Ferritin levels, so I asked for these and was told that the lab would NOT have done these tests because my blood serum was within the "normal range".

In a terrible distressed state I told him that I had the British Medical Journal's Best Practice Table with me and that 350 ng/L was deemed "Subtle (subormal/low normal B12 but with signs and symptoms)" and showed him the table, and that 500 was the accepted level that a patient would be well. I then went on to explain to him (as best I could in the state I was in) how certain foods (red meat etc) contain B12 which needs to combine with the Intrinsic Factor in order for my body to absorb B12 and that if my body was not doing this it would also explain why thyroxine is no longer working and that because they did not do a full spectrum of tests they could not make a diagnosis that I was not B12 deficient. Clearly he was not prepared to treat me so I asked to be referred privately to someone who I could pay to do the full spectrum of tests. This GP knows why I still work at 67 because I am supportting my daughter who has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, so he asked did I have private healthcare, I said no. I left the surgery in tears. I took a call at 6:00pm at home that evening and it was the young GP, he had spoken with a senior partner and they agreed that they would be prepared to send me via the NHS to see a specialist. I thanked him very much but said that it would probably mean weeks before I saw someone, and that I needed to get well as soon as possible, so he agreed to send off a letter.

I tearfully rang my daughter with my sorry tale and she was fantastic, she looked up everything and said your only option is to self medicate. I drove to see her the next day. She dragged herself out of bed (where she is almost constantly) and came with me to Holland and Barratt where I purchased a B12 Vitamin spray for both of us. Instead of just taking the one dose (4 sprays) "as stated on the bottle" I have been taking 4 doses (4 sprays) every day together with a Vitamin B Complex Tablet twice a day. This is the start of day 5. There is a glimmer of hope, the terrible debilitating tiredness is easing. I am not having to sit down as much, and I actually walked up to the village to collect my Thyroxine prescription and take a parcel to the post office this morning and I am OK. I know it could be a fluke but I am hoping it will suffice for the moment. I am well aware that this will affect any bloods that would be taken, but someone has to look after my daughter (as well as working I do my own and her housework washing and ironing etc) but I was too ill to do it.

My grateful thanks to Hamster, you set the "ball rolling" with your knowledge. This is a shining example of why this site is so good.

5 Replies

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  • Good for you, I'm so glad you're feeling better. When you get your referral, hopefully to a Gastro, make sure you focus on the fact that you believe your past gastric surgery is causing malabsorption. I hope the sublingual spray continues to help you, but if it doesn't, try and push for regular B12 injections. Explain that your blood test results will be high because you've been supplementing. It is quite important that you get that iron/ferritin tested, as well as vit D, with regard your thyroxine working properly. Hopefully the Specialist will do that. Did you ever contact Dr Chandy regarding you and your daughter? If I remember rightly you lived quite close by him.

    H x

  • Congratulations and am happy at least you have had a big improvement. GP's don't know everything about how our bodies are affected by lack of vitamins/minerals.

  • You would think doctors would have been told as Vets knew this since at least WW1, cobalt. suppose they only hear the drug rep

  • Hi Mistral, do you have a link to the BMJ Best Practice Table or some other reference please as I have pernicious Anaemia and think I may be B12 deficient as I am also so chronically tired but GP says only need iron supps. which I now take but not making any difference. ugh!!!!!!!!.

  • Hello Siskin

    I was given the website details (see below) regarding all the information I needed and lots more about this condition by another very helpful HealthUnlocked member who could see I was really struggling. The BMJ Best Practice Table details etc can be found on this UK website which I am sure you will find very revealing and useful. Hope you get some help soon.

    b12d.org

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