Sunday, 27 July 2014

B12 Deficiency // Welcome To My World : A Silent Epidemic With Serious Consequences.

Hey guys!!! 
So today I have decided to do a 'Serious Sunday' post and talk about something that affects me and maybe a lot of other people too, that don't actually know about it. 

I found out that I have a B12 deficiency a few years back now, maybe 3 years? I cannot exactly remember, but yeah it doesn't seem like anything to someone just reading those words. However it can be a lot more serious than you think!!

I went to the doctors with my mum because I needed to see someone about my periods (we are all girls here, so I hope you aren't grossed out by that) ha. I was getting quite bad ones which were really painful and I still get them really painful to this day. On the second day I would start to pass out and it made me so ill I couldn't move. So when the doctor asked if I was anaemic, due to me being really pale I thought it was linked to my bad periods.


If it wasn't for that doctor investigating my 'paleness' I most probably wouldn't even know to this day that I had a problem. I have always been pale, and maybe that's why but she checked the redness in my eyes,under my bottom eyelid and decided they were too pale and did some blood tests. 

For quite a while I had been breathless, I couldn't get upstairs without gasping for air and I went to the doctors time and time again about it, but nothing was done.

 I had continuous insomnia and just couldn't fall asleep, I was losing weight rapidly even though my eating habits hadn't really changed. I was getting dead legs constantly and pins and needles in my right leg. I kept forgetting the simplest of things. I was getting a lot of headaches and thought that was because I changed my pill. I was also getting a lot of palpitations which were really uncomfortable and at one point I could see a weird like 'popping' movement coming from the skin in my chest. And a patch of skin on my right foot lost all feeling. It went dead and that scared me. Actually...

It freaked me out!!

I looked awful as you can see. Ha. I did have a real bad picture but I no longer have it. My face was really thinning out.

I started to really notice these symptoms (but obviously thought nothing of it) when I was performing in my first ever singing competitions. I had all these effects going on and it really affected my singing. I couldn't keep the breath on notes and in Worcester's version of 'Britain's Got Talent' (Worcester's Got Talent) I was in the semi-finals singing Jessie J's 'Do It like A Dude'and I was soooo ill. I just couldn't hold the notes, I was dancing around too which made it worse and I was having to gasp for air. It was horrendous trying to perform when I was anxious anyway, my immune system was low too so I kept getting tonsillitis to top it all off. In the video which is on my old YouTube channel you can see at the end of the performance when being interviewed I almost passed out. I cried after I felt that bad. 

Not long after that I was in the 'Text Factor' competition, again another singing comp. And once again I wasn't well but I soldiered on, I was then called to come into the doctors to discuss my blood test results. 

I got told that the blood tests actually come back saying that I had a condition called Macrocytosis which is where my red blood cells have enlarged quite dramatically and that means not enough oxygen is being carried around my body. This explained the breathlessness and that fact I couldn't breathe properly. The doctor then told me I had to have more tests to determine what was causing this. I think I was put on some medication to reduce the size of the cells, but I can't fully remember. 

A few weeks later I was then told that I have a vitamin B12 deficiency and low folate too. The tests showed that my levels of B12 should be around the 1000 mark and mine were at 60. I was then told I was at the danger point of being permanently brain and nerve damaged. 

I was really upset as I didn't understand why I had this and how serious it was. If I remember correctly I did get told it was genetic. I was told as a test, to eat things that were high in vitamin B12 to see if my levels increased. It didn't. I was on folate and vit B12 tablets (folate and B12 work together) and neither of those worked.
 Obviously I was getting worried, but then I was told that my stomach wasn't absorbing the vitamin, and B12 can only be present through eating foods with it in. We as humans don't produce it ourselves. I was told there wasn't enough intrinsic factor in my stomach to absorb it. Therefore it is conclusive that I have pernicious anaemia (an autoimmune condition where the body destroys intrinsic factor, a protein needed for the absorption of B12). This was a lot to take in for one person. 

And if that wasn't enough I was then told that I would need to go to hospital as they think I have celiac disease and have a camera put down my throat into my stomach/intestine.   

I freaked out, there was NO way I was going to have anything shoved down my throat. I struggle to breathe through my nose as it is, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to breathe with that down my throat.  

Celiac disease I was told was linked to food intolerance. To this day I am slightly confused by it all. And to this day I still haven't had that camera down my throat. 

I now have to have B12 injections for the rest of my life and I will have to live with certain symptoms but it doesn't affect my working life or anything like that. It just is really annoying to have. The injections hurt, especially if the doc hits a nerve. It stings but it is bearable. I have mine in my bum as it has more muscle there and I thought it would hurt less. The injection gives me an energy boost and makes me feel awesome, it stops me being cold for a while too (I am always cold due to the condition) and I can sleep properly. I love having it because it helps my symptoms.

A lot of celebrities have it now because "they can". And it has been treated like a fad for weight loss and to keep their skin and hair healthy. It annoys me that celebs' such as Rita Ora and Victoria Beckham are using it like this. For people like myself it's a necessity for me to be of normal health. I just feel a lot of medicines are abused for the sake of vanity. 

The article is here.

I would like to point out that this all happened in the start of me going to university and it really affected my first year as I had a lot of time off because I was poorly and I kept having panic attacks and real bad anxiety. 

I am now completely over that, thank God and although I am not 'fine' I am living with it and as I have said it doesn't harm my working and day to day life. 

If any of you have noticed anything that I have mentioned here or even all of it, then go straight to the doctors. That one doctor who took the time to investigate this has potentially saved me of something that could have been drastically a lot worse. A lot of docs don't recognise this condition as the symptoms that are presented can be linked to other illnesses. But I would push for tests because doctors aren't always right!!

If you have any questions that you would like to ask me regarding this, I will be happy to answer them. When I told people about it they didn't take it seriously and they still don't. They don't really understand the implications of this deficiency and how I see it is, if you don't understand, you can not belittle the problem that someone else has. 

A little life lesson people.


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