Will my levels definitely rise after 2 week treatment

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I have just begun my two week treatment for B12 deficiency (injection every other day).

My level was very low before treatment....74. I am just curious what I can expect that level to rise to after the two weeks? Does the level always go back to normal??

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  • Posted

    Hi Delilah your level will rise after your injection and should be high after the two weeks 
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    • Posted

      Sorry Delilah that message was sent before i meant it to be.As i said your levels will rise after twi weeks, i dont know how often you will be having them after this but it is usually every 12,weeks.My levels used to drop a few weeks after my injection and always knew i needed them sooner.i now have them every 8 weeks which is better.I bet you have been feeling pretty rotten with such a low lwvel but should begin to feel better although if you are having neurological symtoms it may take a while for these to improve.See how you feel after two weeks  .I dont know whether you have b12 defiency due to pernicious anaemia or whether it is diet related your GP should be able to run tests to find out.Treatment for both is the same ie injections but with pernicious anaemia your body cannot absorb b12 only by life long injections.Hope this has helped a little 
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  • Posted

    Hi, hi, hi Delilah! : )

    Yes, it's practically guaranteed that your levels will shoot up to around normal initially (it's going straight into your blood), but it's whether they can stay there or not. Your body needs to "re-cycle" the B12 (as well as try to absorb a bit more from your daily diet to top it up) and if for some reason it can't, the level will begin to fall again fairly rapidly.

    Expect to start to feel the benefits of the jabs within about 3 weeks.

    You will probably be asked to go for a blood test about a month after the last jab, or just before a monthly or quarterly top-up. This is to assess whether you are holding onto the B12 properly.

    You may also need Iron tablets, and it's important to find out why you are deficient. Has your doctor ordered tests to find out if you actually have PA? There are a number of other possible causes of B12 deficiency.

    I had a follow-up test on Monday, and I hope to get the results tomorrow.

    Best of luck.

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  • Posted

    Yes I had a blood test yesterday for the intrinsic factor ao awaiting the results. I'm very worried about what is causing this since I'm in my mid 20s and perfectly healthy otherwise.

    Although I found out I had a blood test 18 months ago and levels were in 180s then so I'm surprised nothing was mentioned to me then. Can any permanent damage have been done by now??

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  • Posted

    It's very disappointing that, when you tested as low as 180 18 months ago, nothing was done at the time. It's marginal, but between 190 and 500 (normal) you should have been offered B12 tablets at the very least. Below 190 you should have been given jabs.

    Was it attributed to some other cause?

    Unless you have significant neurological symptoms (see the PA Society's website for a list) you are unlikely to have suffered permanent damage, but you will feel pretty rotten. From what I read, it's older people who have been deficient for a long time who are really at risk. Heart failure, stroke and senile dementia are possible outcomes.

    Many doctors seem not to be fully up to speed with B12 deficiency and PA, and are slow to recognise the condition. In women of my age, the symptoms may be attributed to the menopause (there's an irony!), and damage is done when it goes untreated.

    Heavy periods, depleting Ferritin (iron store) levels, are often blamed. Sometimes it is bleeding from the bowel - which can go unnoticed. I assume you are not vegetarian, and have no dietary problems, IBD or Chrones disease. Some prescription medicines deplete B12 too, eg. Metformin, as can gastic surgery.

    I wonder how people who have had a gastric band for obesity get on.

    Mid 20's is not that unusual for PA, as it can show itself at any age. It is thought that, in otherwise healthy, active individuals, the condition may be masked to some extent. As my specialist says, "some folk just don't absorb B12 well.

    If none of the above possible causes rings a bell, then it is quite possible you have classic PA. However, the tests your doctor is making can sometimes give false negs and positives, so repetition may be needed at some stage to confirm it and the labs are very slow.

    Please don't be alarmed. The important thing is that the deficiency has been spotted. Regular injections may be needed for the rest of your life, but that is probably all. Not good news if you are needle-phobic, I suppose!

    Good luck with the test results.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your reassuring reply. I too am incredibly disappointed nothing was done last year, I shall be raising it with a doctor. 

      I am fairly fortunate in some ways. With a level as low as mine I would have expected to feel a lot worse than I did. I get dizziness and muscle weakness as well as pins and needles but nothing too insufferable. 

      I am not a vegetarian nor have I ever had any stomach issues or heavy periods. I get the occasional stomach pain and indigestion but again, nothing overly bad.

      I just want to know the cause and get on with finding the right treatment and getting better. It's horrible knowing something is wrong with your body but you don't know what!

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  • Posted

    You've got the same attitude as me - "let's get it fixed and get on with our lives". You are obviously smart, and I don't need to tell you that NHS GPs sometimes need a kick up the pants from their more "hands on" interactive patients.

    Thank goodness for the internet! I know some folk read stuff on line and panic, but far more use it to good effect in managing their own health. Knowledge is very definitely power.

    I recommend you insist on having copies of all your test results (going back a few years if they exist), compare them directly, and see if you can spot a relationship between them and any other changes in your life. Remember that low B12 can upset absorbtion of other vitamins and impact on your general health.

    Do your own research, and take a list of questions to your appointments. Insist on clear answers.

    The minute they think you are going to take a hand in your own health, your GP will start taking you seriously - and that will get you the right diagnosis and treatment.

    My latest GP dismissively suggested I wait to start B12 jabs until after I'd had a gastroscopy - a delay of up to 3 months - in case it "clouded the results". Absolute tosh! I had to force the matter.

    I pursued it and got the jabs. 8 weeks later, when I saw the gastro man, he said I didn't need the investigation anyway! Along the way, I had deliberately declined an ECG (complete waste of NHS money) and a full chest x-ray (more waste, and very dangerous in a woman of my age).

    In a patient who has low B12 with no clear and obvious cause, the primary action should be to correct the level, the secondary action should be to discover the cause. B12 jabs are cheap as chips compared to other procedures and have no dangerous contra-indications. The potential benefits hugely outweigh any perceived advantages of delaying them. Grrrrr.........you can tell how strongly I feel about this.

    I had been suffering from "anaemia" for many years. I'd been reporting my symptoms (which included very severe depression and exhaustion) to previous GPs. I was given iron tablets, a pat on the head, and sent on my way. Nobody suggested testing me for B12.

    Subsequently, one practice's disgraceful handling of my partner's medication resulted in him collapsing with gout and kidney stones. Subsequently, we discovered that he'd had a toe amputated due to "arthritis" when the actual cause was the gout they'd permitted to arise by withdrawing two of the drugs he'd been on for decades! This caused us to leave, and become patients of a well-respected female GP. It was she who tested me properly and triggered my treatment. Unfortunately, she retired a couple of weeks later. Drat.

    My other half lives on a cocktail of 7 different drugs. When I researched B12 deficiency for myself, I spotted Metformin as a depleter. He'd been on it for over 10 years, and nobody had ever mentioned a B12 test. I demanded he be tested and, surprise, surprise, he's dangerously low, and started jabs the same day. At nearly 70, and being a sweet, passive patient, who thinks GPs are gods, he was gradually being allowed to slip into senility because he's old and nobody gives a damn unless you scream.

    Some of his regular drugs have now been replaced with better versions, his B12 levels have been corrected, and he's being more closely monitored.

    Between us, we have shaken things up at the practice, and I hope it's made the GPs there look at the notes of other patients more carefully.

    Along your way, please try to help raise awareness of this common, dangerous and easily-treatable deficiency. You could save lives simply by chatting about the condition with friends, colleagues, neighbours and family, and suggesting some get tested.

    If you do social media, post something about it. If one person reads it and thinks "I wonder if this is what's troubling me, my nan/boss/chum" or passes on the information, early diagnosis could become more common.

    It is shameful that, in many other countries, B12 deficiency is better understood and handled than it is in the UK.

    Bon chance!

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  • Posted

    Thank you for that information, it is useful and reassuring. I will definitely be having a clarification discussion with the doctor and asking about my other results. I'll go armed with information I've read!

    I started my injections this week and although I did not expect to feel better straight away (I don't!) I actually think I feel a little worse. Very nauseous and my legs are shaky. I feel more anxious than normal (though I suspect that is because I know now there's something wrong!) Is it natural for symptoms to get worse before they get better or to have these adverse reactions?!

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  • Posted

    Hmm, interesting. I can't remember feeling worse at first, but my partner certainly said he did. I suppose any sudden biochemical change is likely to cause some reaction, and the chemistry involved is very complex. I'd say it's a natural reaction.

    A purely layman's guess would be that your body, suddenly able to obtain more energy and oxygen from your blood, gets a sort of "buzz" or "high". Come to think of it, I think I've heard that mentioned somewhere.

    Feeling queasy and shaky are common to other such "surges" - sugar, alcohol, nicotine, caffein, thyroxine, naughty drugs, etc. - can all produce such reactions. Heightened anxiety (and hyperactivity) also fits into this picture easily.

    Here's a thought: maybe there's also a "down" to watch out for!

    Either way, I suggest gentle exercise (like a strolling walk), eating well, and sleeping when you feel like it. Smile, laugh, breathe deeply and enjoy the sunshine. Your body is now recovering from a gruelling experience, so look after it well. : )

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