Vitamin B12 Deficiency Diagnosis in Adults
Based on the symptoms experienced and the results of blood tests, vitamin B12 deficiency diagnosis can be ascertained. To measure the different types of blood cells from the sample, a full blood count is required. In general, the doctor will check:
- Does the size of red blood cells exceed normal.
- Is the hemoglobin level too low.
- How much vitamin B12 in the blood.
- How much folate is in the blood.
To determine the type of anemia you are experiencing, the test results will show whether you are deficient in vitamin B12 or folate.
If suspected of having vitamin B12 deficiency, then the doctor will advise the patient to undergo some additional tests:
- An antibody test. Antibodies in the patient’s blood will be examined.
- Methylmalonic acid test. In this test the doctor will check whether the methylmalonic acid substances are present in the patient’s blood.
- Schilling test. Patients will be asked to swallow a small amount of radioactive vitamin B12. Then the patient’s blood will be examined to ascertain whether the patient’s body absorbs vitamin B12.
Additional testing is needed to determine the underlying cause of deficiency and determine the most appropriate treatment. To know more clearly the cause of anemia, you may be referred to a specialist.
See a specialist digestive system
You are referred to a gastrointestinal specialist doctor if there is a suspicion that your digestive system is not able to absorb nutrients well. If so, the composition of vitamin B12 or folate in the body has decreased.
See a hematologist
The hematology doctor is a specialist in blood diseases. If you are pregnant and have vitamin B12 deficiency anemia or folate, then you are advised to see a hematologist.
If a nervous system such as the brain and spinal cord has been infected, you will be advised to see a hematologist. Possible symptoms include changes in vision, reduced or altered touching senses, and inability to control muscles.
Consult with a nutritionist
Nutritious dietary menus can be suggested by nutritionists. They are professional medical personnel who are experts in nutrition. If the diet is not healthy, it can lead to vitamin B12 or folate deficiency. To increase the amount of vitamin B12 or folate in the diet, nutritionists can make the diet more appropriate for us.