Kentucky patients may be interested to learn that many doctors and other members of the medical community have largely ignored cobalamin, or vitamin B12, deficiency as a potential diagnosis for certain neurological symptoms. While this may not seem like a big deal, current studies indicate that at least 48 million Americans may suffer from B12 deficiency.
For example, contemporary studies indicate that B12 deficiency could cause dementia, anemia bone marrow failure and even vascular occlusions. B12 deficiency can be experienced by those of all ages, both sexes and all races. However, individuals who are at higher risk for B12 deficiency include alcoholics, vegans, vegetarians and those suffering from certain illnesses, including Crohn's disease and AIDS.
According to the author of the report, B12 is incredibly easy to diagnose and requires relatively inexpensive treatment. However, many healthcare providers fail to diagnose B12 deficiency and instead often prescribe expensive drugs that treat the symptom but not the underlying problem.
The author stated that healthcare providers should be aware of the consequences of an undiagnosed B12 deficiency and what the symptoms are. There are multiple inexpensive medications that can easily mitigate the problem, including hydroxocobalamin, which is readily available in the United States. There are also a number of alternatives available for patients who do not respond to this treatment.
The failure to diagnose an underlying condition, such as in the case of a B12 deficiency, can result in severe illness that can impact the patient's quality of life. A patient who believes that their illness was misdiagnosed and suffered through unneeded treatment as a result may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against their healthcare provider. With this lawsuit, they may be able to seek monetary compensation for unnecessary medical bills and other associated damages.
Source: Pharmacy Times, "Vitamin B12 deficiency: serious consequences", Sally M. Pacholok, December 13, 2013