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Vitamin B12 deficiency: Lupus increases your risk of tiredness – what is it?

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Lupus is a long-term health condition that can be tricky for medical professionals to diagnose. If you do have it, one side effect could be a vitamin B12 deficiency. Find out more here. Medical News Today described lupus as an autoimmune disease whereby the body’s immune response is hyperactive. As a result, healthy tissue is attacked by the body; symptoms include inflammation and swelling.

Lupus impacts the whole body, including the organs and joints.

Periods of remission (where there are no or few symptoms) tend to occur between flare-ups.

During a flare-up, lupus has a wide range of symptoms, which include:

  • Fatigue
  • A loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Pain or swelling in joints and muscles
  • Swelling in the legs or around the eyes
  • Swollen glands, or lymph nodes
  • Skin rashes, due to bleeding under the skin
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain upon deep breathing
  • Unusual hair loss
  • Pale or purple fingers or toes from cold or stress (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
  • Arthritis

The condition can also lead to nephritis – inflammation of the kidneys; it can also lead to chest pain and difficulties breathing.

“Underdiagnosis can occur because the signs and symptoms of lupus are not specific,” added Medical News Today.

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WebMD pointed out that lupus can increase the risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 is responsible for helping the body create DNA and red blood cells.

A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness
  • Heart palpitations and shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • A smooth tongue
  • Constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or gas
  • Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking
  • Vision loss
  • Mental problems like depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes

Eventually, a lack of vitamin B12 in the body can lead to anaemia.

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How to treat lupus

Although there’s no cure, Medical News Today noted symptoms can be managed by medication.

In addition, taking advantage of heat and cold therapy would be useful, as would doing regular exercise when possible.

How to treat a vitamin B12 deficiency

WebMD encourages shots of B12 to be administered by your healthcare team if your body struggles to absorb the vitamin.

There are other reasons a person may struggle to absorb B12, such as atrophic gastritis, pernicious anaemia, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease or Graves’ disease.

What’s atrophic gastritis?

Atrophic gastritis is long-term inflammation of the stomach, clarified Medical News Today.

Typically caused by a bacterial infection with Helicobacter pylori, there are usually no symptoms at its onset.

Left untreated, stomach ulcers may develop, alongside pain in the stomach, nausea, lack of appetite, and unintended weight loss.

Treatment includes the use of antibiotics, and a full recovery is to be expected.

What’s celiac disease?

The NHS stated celiac disease is where the immune system attacks the body’s tissue when you eat gluten.

As a result, the gut becomes damaged leading to difficulties with nutrition absorption.

The symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating.

Gluten is found in:

  • Pasta
  • Cakes
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Most types of bread
  • Some ready meals

There’s no cure, but following a gluten-free diet should help to control symptoms.


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