Councillors urges people to take simple B12 blood test

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

Monday 20 September 2021 8:56

LOCAL SDLP Councillor Michael Savage has urged people suffering from symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency to ask their GP for a simple blood test.

Speaking to mark Vitamin B12 Awareness Week Councillor Savage, who suffers from Vitamin B12 Deficiency himself said a simple blood test could potentially save someone’s life.

He said: “Like thousands of other people I live with having Vitamin B12 Deficiency. Vitamin B12 is found primarily in meat but no matter what I eat my body fails to absorb this vital vitamin in sufficient quantities.

“I have to take daily medication to ensure that my system has sufficient B12 for me to function and thankfully I can live a normal life by managing my condition.

“Prior to the Pandemic I received a B12 injection every 12 weeks but due to Covid 19 my GP recommended that I move to medication so I now take 3 small tablets a day and I am able to live a normal life and fulfil my busy role in working hard for people across our district who need help every day.

“Before I was diagnosed I just didn’t feel myself. I had chronic fatigue had become forgetful and despite being tired found it difficult to sleep. I knew something was wrong and was worried and my GP advised I get my bloods done.

“My understanding of the normal range for B12 is between 200-900 with between 150-400 being borderline deficient. My bloods came back in the 70 range so it was apparent there was a problem. My GP put me on a series of weekly injections and then moved to quarterly injections and my levels are now steady above the 400 mark.

“B12 Deficiency can be caused by Pernicious Anemia. If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency caused by pernicious anaemia, a condition where your immune system attacks healthy cells in your stomach, your risk of developing stomach cancer is increased.

“Thankfully I did the test for pernicious anaemia and it came back clear but if you have B12 Deficiency it needs to be detected to ensure pernicious anaemia is not a factor. In simple terms a blood test could potentially save your life.

“Early detection and treatment is important. If left untreated, the deficiency can also cause severe neurologic problems and blood diseases.

“Not having enough B12 can lead to anaemia, which means your body does not have enough red blood cells to do the job. This can make you feel weak and tired. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause damage to your nerves and can affect memory.

Cllr Savage added: “Vitamin B12 Deficiency has been described by some experts as a ‘sneaky’ condition that can creep up on you but thankfully it can be treated and is a condition that can be lived with when treated.

“This week is Vitamin B12 Awareness Week and I feel it is important to encourage people who are feeling exhausted, irritable, forgetful, struggling to sleep and generally not feeling like themselves to get the blood test. If they are diagnosed as I was it’s not the end of the world, it can be managed and you can go on to live a very busy normal life.

“The message is simple - talk to your GP and take the blood test!”

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