Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms can occur if a person lacks the vitamin from the foods they’re eating. Two reasons why this may happen is if a person follows a vegan or vegetarian diet, or if they have a certain medical condition like pernicious anaemia. International healthcare group, Bupa, explains: “Pernicious anaemia is an autoimmune disease, caused by antibodies from your immune system attacking your own body tissue, which it mistakes as being foreign.”
The exact cause of pernicious anaemia is unknown, but according to the official NHS website, it’s more common in women around 60 years of age, people with a family history of the condition and those with other autoimmune conditions, such as Addison’s disease or vitiligo.
Experiencing heart palpitations
Having an abnormally rapid heartbeat could be a warning sign of pernicious anaemia.
Feeling extremely tired
Of all the symptoms, feeling tired is the most common and occurs because the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to its various parts.
Suffering from headaches
In rare cases of pernicious anaemia, people may have neurological problems such as headaches.
Having a reduced appetite
A person may experience a loss of appetite and weight loss which could be a sign of pernicious anaemia.
Having a decreased capacity for blood to carry oxygen leaves a person with a shortness of breath.
“If you have pernicious anaemia, the stomach cells that produce intrinsic factor may be damaged, meaning vitamin B12 can no longer be absorbed and a deficiency develops, leading to anaemia,” added Bupa.