Can a Vitamin B12 Deficiency Cause Arthritis Symptoms?

Arthritis is the inflammation of joints, which causes pain, swelling, stiffness and limited movement, according to PubMedHealth. Arthritis is caused by loss of cartilage that normally protects the joints. Types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis and infectious arthritis. Anemia is a common problem in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, according to the National Anemia Action Council. Vitamin B12 deficiency does not cause arthritis but may worsen anemia in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or RA.

Vitamin B12 and Arthritis

Anemia is a common problem in patients with RA, according to the National Anemia Action Council. RA patients may experience anemia because of gastrointestinal bleeding caused by the chronic use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAIDs are used to treat chronic pain in patients with RA. B12 prevents anemia in RA patients by helping bone marrow produce healthy red blood cells.

Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

Patients with B12 deficiency experience symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, pale skin, coldness in hands and feet, mouth soreness, sore tongue, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, abnormal heart rhythm, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, numbness and tingling of extremities, confusion, depression, poor memory and problems maintaining balance, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Untreated B12 deficiency can cause permanent nerve damage, psychosis, severe dementia and problems walking.

Vitamin B12 Administration

The national anemia Action Council recommends patients with RA take vitamin B12 supplements to prevent anemia. B12 supplements are available in the form of tablets, capsules and injections. B12 injections are administered as intramuscular shots in deep muscle tissues. Oral tablets and capsules are taken with meals. B12 injections are suitable for patients with severe B12 deficiency and stomach disorders, which may prevent complete absorption of the vitamin.

Symptoms and Treatment of Arthritis

Patients with arthritis experience symptoms such as joint pain and swelling, redness of the skin around the joint, reduced ability to move the joint, joint stiffness and warmth around the joint, according to PubMedHealth. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis have no cure. Treatment is designed to reduce pain and prevent disability. Doctors may prescribe pain medications such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen and noproxen. Corticostreoids are also used to reduce joint inflammation and swelling.

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