Those of us used to living with Pots and EDS will know that fatigue (sometimes extreme) comes as part and parcel of these conditions. However in the last year and a half to 2 years I had developed a new level of fatigue that had just crippled me! I pretty much needed to sleep most of the day. I got up, had a shower, eat breakfast and by the time 4 hours had passed, my body was crying out for bed again. Every 4 hours or so I would need to sleep at least 2 hours and this continued throughout the day until I went to bed at night, it got so bad that my husband was beginning to miss me as I was always in bed!
I had my meds reviewed, I was on a new diet which had helped my gut related symptoms hugely but nothing I tried would help my fatigue.
I decided to get my bloods checked in July this year and promptly found out that I had anemia. My vitamin B12, Folate and Vitamin D3 were all very low and contributing to my major fatigue and related symptoms.
My doctor put me on a regime of B12 injections, once a week for 5 weeks then once every 3 months there after to maintain my levels. She put me on D3 liquid supplements and also on Folate tablets once a day for the next 6 months or so.
After my 5th injection which is due the next time I go in, they will do more bloods to see how my levels are doing and we can maintain accordingly after that.
What are the symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
“Vitamin B12 is needed by all cells of the body in order to allow them to multiply. A shortage of vitamin B12 mainly affects red blood cells, because millions need be made every minute. A lack of red blood cells can lead to anaemia. The common symptoms of anaemia are tiredness, shortness of breath and palpitations.
There is also a type of B12 deficiency anaemia caused by lack of intrinsic factor. This is called pernicious anaemia. A shortage of intrinsic factor means that B12 cannot be absorbed properly. Pernicious anaemia has the same symptoms as anaemia, including tiredness, shortness of breath and fatigue. Other symptoms of anaemia can include:
- soreness of the tongue,
- loss of weight,
- pale skin, often with a lemon tint,
- intermittent diarrhoea,
- menstrual problems, and
- poor resistance to infections.
If the deficiency goes on too long, the nervous system is liable to be affected, causing:
- tingling of the fingers and toes,
- muscle weakness,
- tenderness in the calves, and
- – HSE.ie/b12deficiency
What are the causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
” The immune system normally makes antibodies to attack bacteria and viruses. Pernicious anaemia is caused by an autoimmune disease, which causes the immune system to make antibodies against other parts of your body. In pernicious anaemia, antibodies are formed that attack the stomach lining and damage the cells that produce intrinsic factor. This stops intrinsic factor from attaching to B12, and so the vitamin cannot be absorbed into your body.
Another cause is where the bowel cannot absorb the vitamin B12 because it has been damaged by disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease) or shortened by surgery (usually to treat bowel disease). If the bowel has been shortened by surgery, these problems can contribute to a condition known as short bowel syndrome. Short bowel syndrome is a group of problems affecting people who have had half or more of their small intestine removed. Common symptoms are diarrhoea, cramping and heartburn. Some people become malnourished because their remaining small intestine is unable to absorb enough water, vitamins, and other nutrients from food.
Occasionally, some people who follow a vegan diet may become deficient in B12. This is because B12 is not found in vegetable foods (such as fruit, vegetables and grains). ” – HSE.ie/b12causes
So have the injections and supplements helped so far?
I definitely found the vitamin B12 injections and the D3 especially were really good initially as they would give me an initial burst of energy for a day or two but recently I haven’t found them as great, but, I am sleeping less now which is great, however, I still need a lot of sleep throughout the day.
Now I get up in the morning and can stay up until evening time around 6 or 7 pm where I have to go to sleep for about 2 hours or I simply wont feel refreshed enough to get up before 2 hours. Then I get up at around 8 pm and can stay up until we go to bed for the night. Sometimes I may need another nap in the evening but usually I just go to bed for a nap now just once in the evening which is a huge improvement and has given me more of a life back.
So, no it’s not a cure by any means, but I believe if I didn’t get my bloods checked at the time that I did, I would still be sleeping my brains out all day so my simple advice to you is, if symptoms change and you notice a new level of fatigue that you haven’t experienced before then there surely is something causing that, don’t just automatically put it down to your EDS or Pots or regular diagnosis, if it’s new get it checked out and I would recommend getting your bloods checked. At least they are something that can be fixed and managed and may play a huge role in your level of fatigue.
Just be aware, explain to your doctor what is happening with you and ask for bloods to cover anything that may impact fatigue as I was told that Vitamin B12 and D3 bloods need to be checked for separately to regular bloods. So just for you to be aware of that 🙂
Best of luck,
Lette 🙂 (Fainting Goat)