Beriberi is a disease caused by vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency in the body. It can damage the heart or the nervous system, so two types of this disease are distinguished: wet beriberi and dry beriberi. At present, it is a sporadic disease in developed countries. The few observed cases occur in chronic alcoholics, who do not receive adequate amounts of thiamine and other nutrients. In the following FastlyHealarticle, we will show all the details about this condition. Keep reading to know the causes, symptoms, and recommended foods for beriberi disease.
Beriberi disease: causes
There are two main types of manifestations of thiamine deficiency: cardiovascular disease (wet beriberi) and diseases of the nervous system (dry beriberi and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome):
- Wet Bieber: affects heart health and, in more severe cases, can cause heart failure.
- Dry Bieber: affects the health of the nervous system and can lead to loss of muscle strength and muscle paralysis.
The leading cause of beriberi disease is a deficiency of vitamin B1. However, it is a rare disease in places with access to foods rich in different vitamins. Let’s see, below, what other factors can be that can increase the chances of suffering a thiamine deficiency:
- Drinking alcohol excessively can lead to poor absorption and storage of vitamin B1.
- Genetic component, although it is sporadic.
- Having prolonged diarrhea can make it harder to absorb this nutrient.
- Do kidney dialysis.
- Certain diseases, such as those of the liver, can prevent the body from using this vitamin.
- Consume high doses of diuretics.
- This disease can manifest itself in babies when they are fed formulas that do not have enough vitamin B1 or when the lactating woman’s body lacks this nutrient.
Beriberi disease symptoms
The symptoms of beriberi disease vary significantly depending on whether we are dealing with a case of wet or dry beriberi. Next, we show what they are in each case:
- It was swelling in the lower legs (edema).
- Increased heart rate (tachycardia).
- Lung congestion
- Enlargement of the heart
- Shortness of breath when exercising.
- Reduction in the volume of urine.
Give a second
- Pain, tingling, or loss of feeling in the hands and feet ( peripheral neuropathy ).
- Muscle wasting with loss of function.
- Lower extremity paralysis.
- Brain damage.
- Mental confusion.
- Difficulties speaking
- Involuntary eye movements.
In the most extreme cases of dry beriberi, the so-called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome can develop, which causes brain damage that causes mental confusion and memory loss.
To diagnose beriberi disease, blood tests can be carried out to check the amount of thiamine in the blood.
On the other hand, a urinalysis also helps verify the level of vitamin B1 concentration. If the body has difficulties absorbing this nutrient, this will be reflected in the urine through a high concentration of thiamine.
In addition to these medical exams, neurological and physical examinations may also be performed to detect incoordination, decreased reflexes, memory loss, and heart problems.
Treatment of beriberi disease
If undetected and untreated, beriberi disease is often fatal. However, with proper medical treatment, it is possible to quickly improve the patient’s symptoms and well-being.
To raise the levels of vitamin B1 in the body, thiamine supplements are prescribed. These can be injectable or administered orally according to each case. In addition, you can also add taking other vitamin supplements.
After the administration of thiamine supplements, again, the patient undergoes blood tests to check how he is responding and if the body has appropriately absorbed the vitamin.
Heart damage is usually reversible, and full recovery is possible. However, the outlook can be poor if heart failure has already been diagnosed. In the case of damage to the nervous system, they are also reversible as long as they are detected in time and the appropriate treatment is started quickly.
Beriberi: recommended foods
In addition to medical treatment, the patient must follow a healthy diet that includes foods rich in thiamine when suffering from this disease. Here are the foods that should be incorporated into a recommended diet for beriberi:
- Flax seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Macadamia nuts
- Pork Meat
- Whole grains
- Dried plums
- Dried figs
- Garbanzo beans
- Green peas
- Rye bread
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Beriberi disease: causes, symptoms, and recommended foods, we recommend that you enter our Endocrine system category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.