Prognosis of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

By  , Expert Content
Jun 20, 2012

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Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common condition, fortunately it can be treated with vitamin B12 supplements. It has many important functions in the body. This deficiency affects several vital functions, including synthesis of haemoglobin and function of the nervous system.

Prognosis of Vitamin B12 deficiency

Untreated B12 deficiency: Prognosis of vitamin B12 deficiency depends on the severity of deficiency. Mild deficiency causes symptoms because of anaemia, which improve rapidly with treatment. But with worsening of B12 levels, neurological symptoms become evident and they may not respond so well to treatment. If the deficiency is not treated, pernicious anaemia and other causes of severe B12 deficiency can be fatal. The condition can turn fatal cases leading to severe myelopathy, encephalopathy, or anaemia.

Megaloblastic anaemia: Appropriate treatment of patients with megaloblastic anaemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency can completely reverse the process. Haemoglobin synthesis begins to improve within a few days of starting treatment, and brisk reticulocytosis starts within 1 week of initiating treatment.

Sub-acute combined spinal degeneration: In people with sub-acute combined spinal degeneration, vitamin B12 supplementation can lead to clinical and MRI improvement and halt progression of disease. But complete resolution of symptoms occurs in some and not all patients who undergo vitamin B12 replacement.

Other neurological diseases: Neurological disease as a result of vitamin B12 deficiency like megaloblastic anaemia can be irreversible and it may not respond to treatments. Other neurological diseases such as dementia, peripheral neuropathy, depression, and other neuropsychiatric signs and symptoms may improve with vitamin B12 treatment, but complete resolution of symptoms may not occur with treatment. Treatment can halt further progression of the disease.


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