Thiamine deficiency may cause some serious complications of the nervous system and the heart. Two types of thiamine deficiency: subclinical and severe are treated in a different ways. Read the article to get to know about the treatment to avoid life-threatening conditions.
Vitamin B1 or thiamine is one of the most important types of vitamin B. Deficiency of thiamine can cause a disease called ‘beriberi’. This can cause problems related to the nervous system and muscle contraction. Hence, it is very important to know about treatment option available to avoid further complications.
Basically thiamine deficiency can be classified into two types subclinical deficiency and severe deficiency. The subclinical deficiency occurs as a result of low intake of thiamine in the diet from the recommended 1.5 milligrams of thiamine each day. These may have minor effects on the person and can be treated very easily. But when we talk about the severe deficiency which is also called beriberi, it can be life-threatening. Beriberi is further divided into two types – dry beriberi and wet beriberi. Dry beriberi is said to affect the brain and wet beriberi affects the heart.
Subclinical thiamine deficiency can be easily treated with regular intake of thiamine rich foods. But if the symptoms are severe, it is better to take advice from a doctor for quick medical assistance. The doctor may ask you to undergo blood test, so as to confirm the deficiency of thiamine in the body. Once the test is confirmed, following are some of the treatment options which your doctor may suggest
- Thiamine supplements are most commonly given to people suffering from thiamine deficiency. Our body is able to absorb not more than approximately 4 to 4.5 mg of thiamine in a single dose, hence the person is usually recommended 5mg of thiamine thrice a day. This may fulfill the requirements of a person’s body. The duration of the dose will depend upon the severity of the deficiency.
- The patient may also be given intramuscular injections for a few days which will then be followed by daily oral tablets. This treatment will totally depend upon the condition of the person.
- The doctor may advise you to take thiamine rich diet. This may include eggs, chicken, brown rice, potatoes, cereals, fish, pork, flaxseed, oatmeal, beans, etc. The diet should be balanced and healthy.
Causes and Symptoms
As we have seen that the recommended intake of thiamine per day should be 1.5 milligrams. Lack of the recommended intake of thiamine can lead to its deficiency. Following are some of the thiamine deficiency causes.
- Less intake of thiamine in the daily diet.
- Poor intake of thiamine like roasting and stewing of meat, excess cooking of vegetables, etc. may result in the loss of thiamine from the food.
- Excess intake of alcohol.
- Consumption of food which has high amount of thiaminases like raw fish and betel nuts may also result in lower levels of thiamine.
- Some genetic or hereditary problems may also result in deficiency.
The symptoms will totally depend upon the type of deficiency the person is suffering from. As we have said that dry beriberi affects the brain, hence the symptoms associated with it are fatigue, memory loss, irritability, poor concentration, depression, decreased vision and insomnia. Wet beriberi affects the heart and may show symptoms such as chest pain, breathing difficulties, palpitations, generalized edema, systolic murmur, rapid and low tension pulse. Apart from these, a person may experience other symptoms like loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, constipation, etc.
If you have been diagnosed with thiamine deficiency then avoid alcohol completely. Pregnant women should take extra care to include thiamine in their diet. However, it is advisable to talk to your doctor regarding the daily dosage of thiamine and whether thiamine supplements are good for you. So, concentrate on a healthy thiamine rich diet to help prevent life-threatening situations.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.