The best way is from Signs and Symptoms, ie what are you suffering from? I'll come on to the blood test later. The full Protocol for Diagnosing and Treating B12 Deficiency can be downloaded by clicking on its title, but if you are just looking for the short Appendix A (many people use this to record their daily symptoms to check how soon they need their next injection) then Appendix A - 1 minute check can be dlowloaded by clicking on its title.
You are the best judge of how you feel. Your doctor might be the best judge of what to do about it, but there's no substitute for keeping a record of how you feel.
The key to identifying B12 deficiencies to trace symptoms back to the root cause. If you have a cough, and no other symptoms, you probably need to treat your throat. If it’s accompanied by headache and streaming nose, then you trace back, via catarrh, to a virus or cold infection. If your cough is painful, accompanied by difficulty swallowing, and accompanied by unexplained weight weight loss, then your doctor may refer you for a biopsy for cancer. If instead it’s accompanied by loss of sensation in your limbs, and a series of other neurological symptoms, then you may start to suspect a neuropathy-type disease such as B12 deficiency.
After 30 years of observations, we developed a checklist so that you can see how many body systems are affected, and therefore the likelihood that all traces back to B12 deficiency. The checklist can be downloaded from here.
B12 deficiency also affects the body’s ability for individual cells to detect hormones. This can have devastating consequences – infertility and menorrhagia (both heavy bleeding, and inter-menstrual bleeding – when the sex hormones don’t work), overwhelming tiredness and lack of energy (often lack of cortisol, which is also known as Addison’s disease), heart palpitations and a feeling of burning up accompanied by weight loss (malfunction of the thyroid gland and thyroxine), lack of ability to regulate glucose (diabetes due to insulin insensitivity or lack of production of insulin), and so on. In many cases, the damage to the endocrine system is an autoimmune damage, where the body’s own immune system, made up of white blood cells or phagocytes, destroys the cells of the endocrine gland.
You can download a protocol for identifying hypoadrenalism (adrenal insufficiency, Addison’s disease, low cortisol) below.
June describes her suffering when doctors didn't follow the standard protocol after any stomach or intestinal operation - to offer B12 replacement therapy
Julia found her eyesight going as her eyes refused to focus on the same things as each other. She's been for all sorts of tests and treatment, but now that she's on B12 replacement therapy she's starting to see an improvement.
Susan gets very tired, which isn't much fun especially as she has so much to do. Here she tells her story.
Just the way it works for humans, oral B12 can make a world of a difference for your pet. My old cat Smudge chases the young cat again, climbs ladders (and climbs down herself), and is generally as fit as she was many years ago.
The Scottish Parliament discusses Pernicious Anaemia and vitamin B12 deficiency on Wednesday 7 March 2012.
This video is over 1 hour long and represents real political change - we are at last on our way.
Frankie tells of how she suffered, the tests she had to endure until doctors worked out what was wrong, and what a difference it has made.
Janette first appeared in the BBC InsideOut documentary in October 2006. Since then the NHS has forced her doctor to withdraw B12 replacement therapy on a number of occasions, and she tells of her struggles with having B12 and then having it taken away.
She has bravely agreed to be filmed without her usual wig, but her memory is playing up because it is so long since her last injection.
The local MP (Grahame Morris MP for Easington - who was a BMS (BioMedical Scientist) in the labs at Sunderland Royal Infirmary) interviews people with B12 deficiency to hear their story (August 27 2010). Here Jane describes the symptoms, and how she can't wait for her next B12 injection (in fact, she knows that she needs injections every 2 weeks because she's keeping a diary of the symptoms). We're restricted how often the GP can give injections, which is why we want to raise awareness.
Donna, like so many women, wants to live a normal life. Vitamin B12 could give her that chance.
Dr Chandy was nominated for the North East Local Heroes award. The interviewer was at first surprised - people don't get awards for doing what they are paid to do - but she persisted.