When you can’t remember where you live, or who loves you…..

Our poster boy Jasper has been showing the signs of his advancing years.  He was a rescue so we can’t be sure how exactly how old he is, but he’s at least fifteen.

His eyesight and hearing have been deteriorating for a while so we clap to get his attention. People seeing this think we are congratulating him rather that trying to communicate where we are!

A few weeks ago he suddenly stopped being interested in food, he was noticeably confused, he stopped barking, or making any sound at all.

 

dooby-b12-text-version

He has always loved a particular fluffy sheep toy but he no longer recognised this previously constant companion.

He wanted to be outside a lot, but then could not find his way back in, he would stand in one spot under a tree or would stare at the wall vacantly. He failed to recognise us.

His eating habits completely changed and some days he turned his nose up at everything offered. His co-ordination was also affected and at times he struggled to stand up.

He was very distant and for a normally loving and friendly dog this was a real shock.

Three weeks ago our vet came out to assess him and check he was not in any pain and confirmed he was showing signs of senility.

The first thing the did, was give him a B12 injection.  Stating that he could have these when required.

The following two days were much the same as before but on the third day, we were astounded. He wanted to eat, he was happy, he had stopped wanting to be apart from us, he barked and found and chewed on his old friend the sheep!!  He still moves like an elderly dog, he still can’t see or hear too much – but the essence of him is back.

Of course B12 is not the answer to every ill. It is however essential to life and for those who are deficient, whose systems have been starved of it, it can have a miraculously swift effect. This is what B12 does for those of us in need, it gives us our essence back.

Don’t all dementia patients deserve this chance, before it’s too late – just in case?

B12 deficiency is very common in the older population, for many reasons; one being low stomach acid, not helped by the over medication of PPI’s and other acid suppressants.

There is no routine screening of so many at risk patients and too many elderly B12 deficient patients may be missed when there are guidelines for doctors like these below;

Wouldn’t it be lovely if our doctors were not constrained by such ridiculous and out dated instruction?

The name ‘Pernicious anaemia’ confuses doctors – many patients NEVER present with anaemia/macrocytosis – this is very late stage. NICE and BNF Guidelines still categorise B12 deficiency under anaemia and this needs to change.

Thankfully our vet did not have to concern himself with proving Jasper was anaemic, he didn’t have to wait for a B12 serum test, he knew that this kind of presentation in an elderly dog could be down to B12 deficiency and his injection was given without any hesitation. He can also have B12 injections regularly without any quibbling.

If only B12 deficient humans, of any age, could be treated in the same sensible way as this little old fella, the world for them would be so much less confusing.

For those who may be B12 deficient please see this page;  www.b12deficiency.info/what-to-do-next/

If you feel strongly about the restrictions on our B12 treatment please sign and share this petition

www.change.org/p/ian-hudson-please-make-our-life-saving-injectable-vitamin-b12-hydroxocobalamin-available-over-the-counter

If you believe B12 & folate testing should be added to a Full Blood Count please add your name to this petition too.

www.change.org/p/jane-ellison-mp-parliament-uk-add-testing-for-b12-deficiency-to-a-full-blood-count-help-to-stop-permanent-disablement

 

Please stop treating vitamin B12 deficiency as the poor relation to pernicious anaemia, this discrimination can seriously harm patients!

Autoimmune pernicious anaemia (PA) is just one of many causes but it’s clear that many doctors consider it to be the only serious cause of B12 deficiency and therefore the only one worth treating with B12 injections. This is due to lack of education on this subject which for most, is usually lumped in with anaemia. It is important to note that anaemia (macrocytosis) is not always present in B12 deficient patients.

In fact ALL causes of this debilitating condition require correct and adequate treatment and it is ALWAYS SERIOUS if it remains undiagnosed and untreated. Remember this condition attacks the central and peripheral nervous system, all body systems and all ages, not just elderly women. B12 is vital for the production of red blood cells and for DNA synthesis.

It seems the majority of doctors – worldwide, have only really learnt about PA and limited information at that. This means that they can neglect and under treat seriously B12 deficient patients. Up to 60% of patients who fail to achieve the correct diagnosis of PA due to the inaccurate diagnostic tests (gastric intrinsic factor antibodies & parietal cell antibodies), may be given an extremely poor deal along with those of us who do not have PA but are B12 deficient due to other causes.

The widespread use of Metformin and Omeprazole to name just two drugs, which stop absorption of B12 from food, cause untold damage. In the case of the diabetic drug Metformin, a doctor may confuse the tingling and numbness in fingers and toes caused by B12 deficiency with diabetic neuropathy, thereby potentially condemning the patient to serious and permanent nerve damage.

Neither of these drugs (and many others) fully warn the user, or the prescriber, on the ‘Patient information leaflet’ (PIL) of prolonged usage causing B12 deficiency.

Most patients with B12 deficiency will require B12 injections FOR LIFE, whether they have; coeliac disease, have had a gastric bypass, atrophic gastritis, Crohn’s disease, genetic mutations, advanced liver disease they all need injections and NOT the low dose cyanocobalamin oral tablets which doctors with lack of knowledge prescribe. Please note there are many more causes of this condition.

There are however some causes of B12 deficiency which CAN be temporary;

• Helicobacter Pylori – Provided this bacterial infection has been short-term and that
H-pylori lesions have not damaged the wall of the stomach or duodenum the patient can recover from this deficiency. If damage has occurred then B12 injections will be required for life.

• Parasites, such as fish tapeworms, or Giardia lamblia – ONLY IF these infestations are correctly diagnosed and effectively eradicated B12 deficiency can be corrected with appropriate treatment. Unfortunately parasitic infestations are hard to confirm as the diagnostic tests for these are also prone to flaws and frequently miss ‘host’ patients who would otherwise be able to absorb B12 from their diet.

Patients using stomach acid lowering drugs (H2 Blockers, PPI’s and antacids) have a secondary problem alongside a resulting B12 deficiency; a greater vulnerability to parasites which can unfortunately lurk undetected for years. These patients may have a very poor chance of naturally ridding themselves of these invaders who interfere with normal B12 absorption and compete for any B12 present in the diet. A healthy level of stomach acid is required to kill off these parasites.

Many B12 deficient patients, whatever the cause, are discriminated against and treated as second class citizens every day, in treatment terms, but a doctor who does not understand the myriad of causes of this condition could cause serious harm by assuming oral tablets will be absorbed and correct a deficiency.

If Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes patients were treated with the same level of discrimination, there would be uproar. Imagine doctors only allowing type 1 patients insulin but sending all type 2 patients off to simply look at a pig?

If you are a doctor who has learned only about PA and your patient does not test positive for IFA or PCA then you must still treat this patient properly whilst exploring other causes, and remember they may have a parasite that tests can’t detect.

•  If you can’t find the cause please remember this is not the fault of the patient

•  Treat their symptoms, and don’t assume it is ‘all in their mind’

•  Give them loading doses (6 injections over two weeks)

•  And if they have NEUROLOGICAL symptoms REMEMBER to continue their loading doses until their symptoms STOP IMPROVING, as per NICE and BNF Guidelines.

The difficulties with vitamin B12.
We discuss the management of patients who present with neurological manifestations of vitamin B12 deficiency; highlighting the fact that parenteral replacement is needed in such cases, even if the serum vitamin B12 level appears to be normal.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27009308/?i=5&from=b12

http://cks.nice.org.uk/anaemia-b12-and-folate-deficiency#!scenariorecommendation:4

Information on PA Tests – http://www.b12deficiency.info/assets/pat-kornic-testing-f.pdf

http://www.b12deficiency.info/what-are-the-causes/

http://www.b12deficiency.info/what-to-do-next/

Raising awareness; http://www.b12deficiency.info/how-you-can-help/

Please sign and share our petition;

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/ian-hudson-please-make-our-life-saving-injectable-vitamin-b12-hydroxocobalamin-available-over-the-counter