Vitamin B12 is a crucial ingredient for the healthy running of the body, as it’s needed to make red blood cells. Signs of a deficiency can develop very slowly, so it may be difficult to diagnose the condition.
People with undiagnosed symptoms should consider that they may have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
While it’s unlikely that your symptoms are caused by the condition, there are still many people that have a lack of B12.
A quick blood test could reveal whether you should be adding more B12 to your diet.
You may be at risk of the condition if your tongue becomes unusually swollen.
An inflamed tongue could be one of the earliest warning signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency, according to Harvard Medical School.
It may be uncharacteristically swollen, and possibly even slightly discoloured.
As the tongue becomes inflamed, the taste buds may be increasingly difficult to spot.
That may lead to a particularly smooth-looking tongue, which may appear slightly alarming.
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“Some people don’t consume enough vitamin B12 to meet their needs, while others can’t absorb enough, no matter how much they take in,” it said. “As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively common, especially among older people.
“Vitamin B12 deficiency can be slow to develop, causing symptoms to appear gradually and intensify over time.
“It can also come on relatively quickly. Given the array of symptoms a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause, the condition can be overlooked or confused with something else.
“Vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms may include strange sensations, numbness, or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet, difficulty walking [staggering, balance problems], [and] a swollen, inflamed tongue.”
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If you develop a swollen tongue, it may be difficult to chew, swallow or speak.
Severe swelling could actually block your airways, and you should call for an ambulance if you’re struggling to breathe.
But, just because you have a swollen tongue, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
It could also be caused by an allergic reaction, injury, or even some skin conditions.
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More common warning signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include tiredness, jaundice, and feeling dizzy.
You should speak to a doctor if you’re worried about vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.
But you can top up on the vitamin by eating certain foods.
The best sources of vitamin B12 include beef, liver, dairy foods, eggs, and salmon.
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