Beriberi is a condition that can occur when the body is seriously lacking thiamin, an essential B1 vitamin to the body. People can have Beriberi in two forms. If the Beriberi is the wet type, it affects the heart, and if it is dry, then it will upset the nervous system. There is an association between dry BeriBeri and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is what happens to the brain when your system is seriously lacking the needed Thiamin.
Lack of thiamin in the first place is caused by alcoholism which washes out the thiamin needed to support the body, and also malnourishment from eating disorders or poverty.
There is also an inherited condition if where the body is not capable of absorbing thiamin. The symptoms of this inheritable cause usually doesn’t make itself known until adulthood.
Any person that is experiencing advanced kidney disease and on dialysis, or on a high dosage of diuretics can experience a thiamin deficiency as well.
Symptoms of Beriberi in the dry form include such things as, (1) coordination problems and problems walking, (2) no sensations in the extremeties, (3) no muscle control in the legs, (4) disoriented, (5) trouble focusing eyes, (6) a lot of tingling sensations in the body, and throwing up.
If a person is having the wet form of Beriberi, they are most likely to have, (1) shortness of breath, (2) fast heartbeats, (3) cannot breath right in doing activities, (4) lower leg swelling.
When a doctor is looking for either form of Beriberi, the examination will include a complete rundown of symptoms, and after that in suspecting Beriberi, blood testing and also some urine tests will be conducted. The blood test and urine test will be the ones which measure thiamine. If there is a lack of it showing, then thiamin supplements will be given. Right at the office, the doctor will no doubt give you an injection of thiamin since it reacts quickly in the bloodstream more than the pills. The doctor may also recommend a certain diet that includes foods such as asaparagus, spinach, lettuce and cabbage, and broccoli since these foods are the very best in giving the body thiamin along with many other needed vitamins.
Another part of treatment would probably be to prescribe or recommend a certain multi-vitamin to keep the levels of thiamin up where they need to be.
Follow-up treatment is for testing the blood once again to make sure that the blood is showing corrected levels of B1 in the blood.
If Beriberi is not treated in time, it is usually fatal. That is why it is essential to check it out when symptoms present themselves.