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Status of Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Elderly Chinese Community People

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DOI: 10.4236/health.2015.712185    2,394 Downloads   2,831 Views  


This study was aimed to investigate the vitamin B12 deficiency prevalence and symptoms in elderly people lived in a community of Shanghai, China. A total number of 962 elderly people resided in Shanghai community were recruited in the present study. They were 60 years and older, and the average age was 76.38 ± 13.68 years old. Information on previous and present diseases, currently prescribed and over-the-counter medication, and the presence or absence of symptoms relating to vitamin B12 deficiency were obtained by questionnaire. The levels of serum vitamin B12, folate and homocysteine (Hcy) were estimated. The patients with vitamin B12 deficiency were screened. The results of symptoms and positive signs of neurological examination were compared between subjects with or without vitamin B12 deficiency. The results showed that vitamin B12 deficiency was found in 130 persons (13.53% of the total subjects), with an increase in incidence with aging, only 10% of the vitamin B12 deficient subjects had megaloblastic anemia. The reported symptoms of vitamin B12 deficient subjects included fatigue, memory decline, dizziness, unsteadily walking in the darkness and hypopallesthesia. In conclusion, vitamin B12 deficiency was remarkably common in Chinese elderly people, with various and atypical clinical manifestations, and the neurological symptoms were more common than those of megaloblastic anemia.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Wang, Y. , Zheng, Y. , Yan, F. and Zhang, W. (2015) Status of Vitamin B12 Deficiency in the Elderly Chinese Community People. Health, 7, 1703-1709. doi: 10.4236/health.2015.712185.


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