The pernicious ignorance of B12 deficiency in patients with poor mental health.

Despite the general misconception that B12 deficiency only affects women over 60, this condition does not discriminate. It is those who train our health care professionals and consequently our health care professionals who do. The neuropsychiatric symptoms of B12 deficiency are many and as with all symptoms they can manifest at any age and in either sex.
These include –

• The unborn child
• Babies
• Children
• New mothers
• The middle aged
• The elderly

It appears that very few doctors understand the need to rule out this debilitating neurological disorder once a mental health condition is diagnosed. Of course there are many reasons for poor mental health but to ignore nutritional deficiencies is ridiculous.

One of the most common presenting symptoms of B12 deficiency is depression and yet the chances of a doctor exploring this symptom further to see if there might be a physical cause appears to be very slim.

How many children are incorrectly diagnosed with Bipolar, psychosis, depression when B12 deficiency is the root cause?
How many undiagnosed B12 deficient mothers find themselves devastated by post natal depression following nitrous oxide administration during labour?
How many cases of ‘early onset Alzheimer’s’ remain untested for this easy to treat deficiency?
How many newly diagnosed dementia patients have been taking metformin, or acid suppressants such as Omeprazole?
How many patients live in total confusion when all they lack is the ability to absorb vitamin B12?
How many stroke victims struggling physically and mentally because it never occurred to the clinicians to test for low B12?
How many students unable to complete their studies?
How many lives lost through suicide?
How many careers ruined?
How many lost livelihoods?
How many families broken?
How much money wasted on psychiatric drugs when a vital nutrient is the solution?
How many undiagnosed prisoners are ‘detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure’ for actions and behaviour induced by low B12?
How many patients hospitalised with eating disorders remain undiagnosed with B12 deficiency?
How many patients tested but by clinicians who fail to understand that the B12 serum test is inaccurate?
How many patients rattle with numerous antidepressants given in mega doses due to their reduced efficacy in B12 deficient patients?

The information below is taken from the ‘Fundamental Statistics on Mental Health 2007’  

All these statements and statistics have a potential relationship to B12 deficiency and we can only assume that these figures are perhaps even worse now…….

The Fundamental Facts 2007: The Latest Facts and Figures on Mental Health
http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/content/assets/PDF/publications/fundamental_facts_2007.pdf?view=Standard

How many people experience mental health problems?
• The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report found that in any one year 1 in 4 British adults experience at least one mental disorder, and 1 in 6 experiences this at any given time.

• It is estimated that approximately 450 million people worldwide have a mental health problem.
• 1 in 4 families worldwide is likely to have at least one member with a behavioural or mental disorder.
• The World Health Organisation forecasts that by 2020 depression will be the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease.

 Suicide and history of using mental health services
• 42% of people who took their own lives in England and Wales were diagnosed with either a depressive illness or bi-polar disorder, and 20% had schizophrenia or a related disorder. 

Postnatal depression
• Post-natal depression, also known as post partum depression, is believed to affect between 8 and 15% of women. Post-natal depression is not the same as the ‘baby blues’ which are very common, but last only a few days.

Dementia
• Dementia affects 5% of people over the age of 65 and 20% of those over 80. About 700,000 people in the UK have dementia (1.2% of the population) at any one time.
• About 60% of dementia cases are caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
• About a fifth of cases of dementia are related to strokes or insufficient blood flow to the brain, these cases being known as vascular dementia.

Children and young people 
• The British Medical Association estimates that at any point in time up to 45,000 young people under the age of 16 are experiencing a severe mental health disorder, and approximately 1.1 million children under the age of 18 would benefit from specialist mental health services.


Older people 
• Depression affects 1 in 5 people over the age of 65 living in the community and 2 in 5 living in care homes. However, it is likely that only a small proportion of older people with depression are in contact with their GP or mental health services. 
• An estimated 70% of new cases of depression in older people are related to poor physical health.

The prison population
• 72% of male and 70% of female sentenced prisoners have at least one mental disorder and 1 in 5 prisoners has four major mental health disorders. 

People with poor physical health are at higher risk of experiencing common mental health problems, and people with mental health problems are more likely to have poor physical health. 
• Depression affects 27% of people with diabetes, 29% of people with hypertension, 31% of people who have had a stroke, 33% of cancer patients and 44% of people with HIV/AIDS.
• People who experience persistent pain are four times as likely to have an anxiety or depressive disorder as the general population.




Primary care
• Approximately 30% of all GP consultations are related to a mental health problem.
• On average, a person with severe mental health problems has 13 to 14 consultations per year with their GP.




Hospital provision
• The NHS spent about £575 million on acute psychiatric in-patient hospital care in 2005/06,188 about 68% of its budget for clinical mental health services.




Treatment and coping
• According to an online survey by the Mental Health Foundation, of those visiting their GP with depression, 60% were prescribed anti-depressants, 42% were offered counselling and 2% were offered exercise therapy. 




Medication

• In 2004, GPs wrote a total of 63.9 million drug prescriptions for mental health problems in England, representing 9.3% of the total prescription by volume.
• Approximately 2 million people of working age in Britain are currently taking psychiatric drugs, most prescribed by their GPs.




 

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Family doctors in England are to be paid £55 for each patient they diagnose with dementia, NHS bosses say.   (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29718618)

If we gave GP’s just £1 to test ALL mental health patients for B12 deficiency and then another £1 to treat that patient properly the cost savings could be phenomenal, not just to the NHS but to society as a whole. If only 10% of all the above statistics were found to be B12 deficient it would have a profoundly positive impact on NHS resources.

If you or anyone you know suffers with a mental illness, please have look at this list which is just the neuropsychiatric portion of the common B12 deficiency symptoms. You may be surprised and relieved to find that B12 injections could be the answer to restoring your own or a loved ones health.

• Confusion/disorientation
• Psychosis
• Post natal depression
• Hallucinations
• Memory loss
• Delusion
• Depression
• Suicidal ideation
• Mania
• Anxiety
• Paranoia
• Irritability
• Apathy
• Personality changes
• Inappropriate sexual behaviour
• Violent/aggressive behaviour
• Schizophrenic symptoms
• Sleep disturbances
• Insomnia
• Changes in taste, smell, vision, and sensory/motor function which can be mistaken for psychiatric problems

For more information please visit  www.b12deficiency.info/b12-and-mental-health/

Every part of society is affected by mental illness, and every part of society is affected by B12 deficiency. Our health care professionals need to keep this in mind, from midwives, to paediatrician’s, oncologists to psychiatrists. All medical disciplines need to be made aware of the facts.

Even those psychiatric patients who are known to be B12 deficient may still remain very unwell due to the high level of under treatment for this condition. Just four injections per year are not enough to repair those damaged nerves. Far more B12 is needed for this important job.
Unfortunately your doctor may be resistant to your request for testing for B12 deficiency.

Over the past couple of years I have been met with the following statements, from GP’s and psychiatrists;

‘They have no symptoms so it would be a waste of NHS funds to test for low B12 ’.
‘B12 deficiency does not affect mental health’.
‘Tremors and tinnitus are not cause by low B12’
‘They already have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and poor mental health runs in the family’.

It appears that once you have a diagnosis of mental illness you may be effectively tidied away and forgotten about.

And if you don’t have a mental health diagnosis your doctor might be keener to find one for you,  than to give you the vitamin you desperately need.

I’ll leave you with the letter I was sent following my request for more B12 injections.

Best wishes, Tracey

letter-1-14.08.28

 

 

East Lancashire NHS Trust – you win the trophy hands down, for dangerously low, lower reference level for serum B12 test, 110 – 914ng/L!

Just take a look at these results, which are being ignored by the GP (see previous post) and then have a gasp at that lower reference range, are you still standing?  NO?…. neither is the patient.  They remain exhausted with regular blackouts.

What are you doing to your patients East Lancashire NHS Trust?

How many Lancastrians have been misdiagnosed with other illnesses due to the almost impossibility of achieving a diagnosis of B12 deficiency under this Trust?

IMG_20140611_100402

 

East Lancashire NHS Trust need to identify all the inevitable misdiagnoses due to this incredibly low reference range – we thought Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust were bad but this really takes the biscuit.

Exactly how many patients have been incorrectly misdiagnosed with;

Alzheimer’s/Dementia?

Depression?

Chronic fatigue syndrome?

Fibromyalgia?

Multiple sclerosis?

M.E.?

Psychosis?

Bipolar?

Vertigo?

Congestive heart failure?

Chronic pain disorder?

Anaemia?

Autism?

ADHD?

How many babies fail to thrive?

How many children have a diagnosis of developmental delay, mental retardation?

How many metformin taking diabetics have their neuropathy incorrectly attributed to diabetes?

How many new mothers sectioned with post natal depression from inactivated B12 supplies?

How many benign essential tremors have automatically led clinicians to an incorrect diagnosis of Parkinson’s?

How many Strokes and heart attacks?

How many suicides?

East Lancashire NHS Trust we implore you to change this assay kit and re test all who have gone before and to screen all those patients who have left the GP’s office with nothing more than a diagnosis of hypochondria.

TAKE ACTION NOW – THIS IS SERIOUS!!

Please visit www.b12deficiency.info

http://b12deficiency.info/children-and-b12.html

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

Best wishes,Tracey

If you think you may be vitamin B12 deficient – please read for ‘What to do next’

This is a page direct from www.b12deficiency.info

DO NOT SUPPLEMENT at  all BEFORE TESTING – This could skew results and make diagnosis difficult.

 1. Make a note of your symptoms.

Click here to check your symptoms or click here to check your child’s symptoms.

Click here to read about causes of B12 deficiency.

Note anything that relates to you.

There is a downloadable poster which demonstrates some of the conditions which can occur with low B12 or indeed may be misdiagnosed in place of B12 deficiency. You will find this on our ‘Very Useful Links’ page.

2. Ask your doctor to test serum B12, folate, ferritin, and a full blood count.

Please note, it would be advisable to have a thyroid function test too, they share many symptoms! It is recommended that these should be fasting tests so ask for an early appointment. Sometimes doctors are reluctant to carry out these tests, however they can be done privately. For more information on testing please click here.

3. Once your results are back it is very important to obtain a copy.

You are legally entitled to these.

4. Learn to interpret your test results.

If you are symptomatic your B12 level could still show as ‘within range’ this test is known to be inaccurate. Click here.

Please note that if you suffer psychiatric symptoms of B12 deficiency they too are reversible with correct B12 treatment. Psychiatric symptoms can manifest at higher levels than the lower reference ranges of the B12 serum test. In these cases it would be entirely appropriate for your doctor to carry out a therapeutic trial of B12 injections to confirm a deficiency.

An extremely high B12 level without supplementation requires investigation.

These particular test results are important in B12 deficiency;

Ferritin

Folate

Red cell folate

MCV

MCH

MCHC

RDW

WBC

 Click here for excellent information on optimum levels.

 It is important to remember that B12 deficiency cannot be ruled out in the absence of anaemia and / or high MCV. Click here for more information compiled by @b12unme.

 5. If you have results which confirm a deficiency, do not accept cyanocobalamin tablets unless you know that your deficiency is due to a dietary lack of B12. Remember B12 is only available from animal products!

A deficiency, even if caused through a vegan or vegetarian diet, should still be treated by injections in the first instance, in order to build levels fast.

You can also join this support group. Urge your family members to check the symptoms and causes page too, this deficiency could also be affecting your loved ones.

 6. You should be given loading doses by injection. If you have neurological symptoms then your doctor must treat you as per NICE and BNF guidelines these state that you must stay on loading doses until symptoms stop improving, see NICE Guidelines here. You may have to remind your doctor that there is no known toxicity of hydroxocobalamin and that it is used in huge quantities to treat

cyanide poisoning. Once treatment starts you may notice certain reactions during or soon after the loading doses click here for more information. During early intensive B12 treatment potassium levels may fall, causing hypokaelimia, so please increase your intake of potassium rich foods. Many people are not treated adequately enough for B12 deficiency, please see the Scottish Petition here.

7. Your doctor should adhere to these guidelines but sometimes this doesn’t happen. The BNF (British National Formulary) Guidelines state how Hydroxocobalamin should be administered and each practice has a copy of this book. Register here and print off section 9.1.2 to show your doctor if they are non compliant. Nerve damage takes a long time to heal that is why there is no limit on the administration of B12 injections in those suffering neurological symptoms. Four injections per year will not heal nerve damage, they will keep you alive but deterioration will continue!

8. Ask your doctor/nurse to teach you how to self inject.

This will save you and your practice time and money, if you have neurological symptoms you could be injecting every other day for months. Please click here for the NHS injection guide.

9. If you are B12 deficient and it is not due to a dietary lack of B12 or due to a parasite or other curable forms, you will require injections for life. In these cases, ask you doctor to write this in your notes.

10. If your results show that you are low in folate your doctor may  prescribe a higher dose folic acid tablet than the 800mcg that is available over the counter. Your serum level should be at the upper end of the range. Some patients cannot tolerate synthetic folic acid and therefore would require supplementation of the naturally occurring form of folate please click here for more information on this.

11. If you are low in ferritin you will require supplementation. Iron supplements come in tablet and liquid form and as an infusion. Your doctor should advise what is best for you here and monitor levels accordingly. Please note doctors do not routinely test for haemachromatosis (iron overload). My local lab has a reference range of 10 – 450, the optimum level here would be around 80 -100.

12. A good B complex will be required alongside your injections as all the

B vitamins work together. Make sure the B6 in the B complex is under 60mg. Please note, the folate contained in B complexes and multivitamins is commonly folic acid. Please see point 10 above.

13. In some patients potassium levels can drop with increased B12 loading doses. Your doctor should keep an eye on this and you can help yourself by eating potassium rich foods.

14. If you doctor feels that you are not B12 deficient based on ‘within range’ results you must push for other tests. Click here.

If you have neurological symptoms and a doctor who is non compliant you must assert yourself, and take someone with you who can support you.

15. Your ferritin and folate levels will require periodic monitoring. It would be pertinent for your B12 levels to be monitored in order to ascertain that you are able to metabolise your injections. Iron must be kept at an optimum level and not become too high. Once B12 treatment has commenced B12 levels may remain high but it is the symptoms which are the marker for your treatment. Do not let your doctor stop your injections if you have a malabsorption problem and there is a mistaken belief that your levels are replete.

www.b12deficiency.info

Please sign our petition – you will be helping to save lives
Best wishes, Tracey

There are many faces of Vitamin B12 deficiency……….

b12 poster final

Please click to download, print, tweet or share this poster 

Raising awareness – how YOU can help

If viewed from the web address above this poster has dynamic links behind each image which lead to further information and journals for each age group.

www.b12deficiency.info/what-to-do-next.html

Please consider signing and sharing our petition – you will be helping to save lives
http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/ian-hudson-please-make-our-life-saving-injectable-vitamin-b12-hydroxocobalamin-available-over-the-counter

Thank you, Tracey
www.b12deficiency.info 

Neurological symptoms in B12 deficiency are routinely ignored.

I do acknowledge that there are some of us with doctors who know exactly how to treat B12 deficiency, but evidence shows that we are not all that lucky.

Most of us with this condition suffer neurological symptoms. Our problem is that many doctors don’t recognise our symptoms as such and consequently they continue to worsen. The NICE and BNF Guidelines state that if neurological symptoms are present that B12 injections should be given every other day until the symptoms stop improving.

It’s also important to note that many of us are ‘within range’ on a serum B12 test result, but still heavily symptomatic.

When I was diagnosed with Vitamin B12 deficiency my doctor wasn’t really interested in my symptoms, they weren’t discussed and I don’t think they were even noted. I was given my loading dose injections every other day for two weeks and then I was supposed to manage on one injection every three months.

I couldn’t.

I have neurological symptoms. My myelin sheath, the protection for my nerves, has been nibbled away.

My memory was terrible, my bladder let me down, my tongue was sore and swollen, my vision was blurred, my bowel couldn’t muster up the strength to work, my neck, back, and toes burned with pain, and I felt anxious, I could go on and on. I thought I might be one of those people who end up in the news, with ‘early onset’ Alzheimer’s.

I have an injection every week now, but I have fought tooth and nail for this. I have never been treated as per the guidelines regarding neurological symptoms and I am not alone. I have cried with frustration during my GP appointments. I have asked my doctor why she thinks her memory is more important to her than mine is to me. I have been enraged by letters sent to me from experts I have never met, telling me I need antidepressants and psychotherapy instead of this 55 pence injection. Where is the sense in this? I know that antidepressants are not going to heal my damaged nerves – it is the little red B12 vial, cheaper than a chocolate bar, which does this job, perfectly.

B12 deficient patients are routinely under treated, neglected and ignored. It’s clear that we must all suffer some degree of nerve damage, with different sets of neurological problems and yet for some bizarre reason we are largely, all treated the same – poorly, and sparsely. We are all unique, we all have different B12 requirements. Many of us suffer returning symptoms within days of our injections, some of us can go longer, some of us can’t. I know members of the support group I belong to who are ecstatic when their doctors agree to give them their much needed injections every 10 weeks rather than every 12 but we all know that this frequency is enough to keep to us alive but not to repair the damage to our nerves. We need our doctors to give us a chance for optimum healing by listening to us, by taking our health seriously, by not filling us with chemicals we don’t need, but by giving us an essential vitamin.

A newly diagnosed patient should be given B12 loading doses over two weeks and following these, the patient, who suffers neurological symptoms, may be euphoric at being able to get out of bed for the first time in months or even years. This same patient who may feel a zest for life in place of deep depression, could then be told that they now only require one of these life saving, vital, water soluble injections, every three months. This incorrect statement is rolled out to countless devastated and desperate patients with the added untruth, that too much B12 can be harmful. There is barely any recognition of our symptoms, except for, it seems the depression we sink into when our lifeline is cut. Our request for more frequent injections falls on deaf ears but we are freely offered antidepressants as an antidote for our despair.

The depression induced by lack of B12 has one cure alone, tragically this cure for most, is rationed to one tiny ampoule only four times a year. This is madness.

B12 deficient patients should also have had their folate and ferritin levels checked. If these levels are too low our B12 can have a pointless journey through our systems and leave us without improvement.

Some doctors feel that our neurological symptoms are not B12 deficiency at all and so will continue to test, scan, prod and poke saying it is important they don’t miss anything ‘more serious’. We don’t mind this process as long as you continue with our essential injections, they can do only good. Vitamin B12 stops us deteriorating, stop our brains from shrinking, it don’t interfere with any other drugs and there is no known toxicity.

We need the treatment that the NICE Guidelines and BNF guidelines 9.1.2. allows us, injections every other day until our symptoms stop improving. There is no restriction on this – and there shouldn’t be.  Nerve damage takes a long time to heal, ask a neurologist – but not these two jokers, see letters 3 and 5 http://b12deficiency.info/letters.html.

Many of us with this condition have soaked ourselves in research in order to be armed with information to keep ourselves alive and well. Numerous occasions arise when this information we collect needs to be regurgitated for our doctors. We remind them of the guidelines repeatedly due to the simple fact that our neurological symptoms are continually misunderstood or ignored.

We don’t understand the confusion our health professionals suffer with the treatment of B12 deficiency because it is SO SIMPLE. Those of us with this condition are fully aware that it affects all body systems, that B12 deficiency affects our brains. It attacks both our central nervous and peripheral nervous systems and that these nerves run throughout our bodies from head to toe the damage wreaking havoc with our daily lives.

Yes it is this serious, but tragically our doctors feel we are making a fuss if we want –

to stay awake for more than three hours a day,

to move without pain,

to walk without wobbling,

to conceive without IVF,

to have a tongue that fits,

to empty our bowels from time to time,

to speak without forgetting,

to hear without constant ringing,

to see without blurring,

to feel calm and relaxed,

to hold down a job,

to have a day without tears,

to remember our loved ones names,

to feel like death isn’t a better option. . . . . . . . . . .

Is this really asking too much?

The guidelines regarding neurological symptoms are plain to see, so all we ask is that these are followed.

Our doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, it states “And I will use treatments for the benefit of the ill in accordance with my ability and my judgment, but from what is to their harm and injustice I will keep them.”

What happens every day in reality, is criminal.

Best wishes, Tracey
www.b12deficiency.info

Please consider signing and sharing our petition – you will be helping to save lives

Newly diagnosed? Please visit – http://b12deficiency.info/what-to-do-next.html

Raising awareness – How YOU can help

To join Pat Kornic’s Life saving support group

NICE Guidelines