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J Family Med Prim Care. 2015 Jan-Mar;4(1):64-8. doi: 10.4103/2249-4863.152255.

A study of the prevalence of serum vitamin B12 and folic Acid deficiency in Western maharashtra.

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Department of Medicine, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences University, Karad, Maharashtra, India.



This study summarizes the prevalence of vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency in the population coming to tertiary care center in Western Maharashtra along with the main presenting symptom routinely misinterpreted in daily practice.


1. To study the prevalence of vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency in the population of western Maharashtra. 2. To correlate the symptoms with serum vitamin B12 and folic acid levels.


The present study is a cross-sectional observation study carried out on patients from western Maharashtra seeking medical attention on outpatient and inpatient basis in the medicine department of a teaching institute in Karad. One-hundred patients were selected on basis of below mentioned symptoms viz. tingling and numbness in extremities, dizziness, unsteady gait, early tiredness, forgetfulness, proximal weakness, distal weakness, chronic headache, less interest in work, chronic loose stools, strict vegetarians, alcoholics, intake of medications like anti-tubercular treatment, surgery involving terminal ileum. Serum vitamin B12 and folic acid levels of these patients were observed. Deficiency of vitamin B12 and folic acid was studied in 4 groups: (a) Absolute vitamin B12 deficiency; (b) Absolute folic acid deficiency; (c) Borderline vitamin B12 deficiency; (d) Combined vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency.


Of the 100 cases, 33% patients were vegetarian. Folic acid deficiency formed the major chunk of deficiency group. Six percent patients had neuropsychiatric manifestations. Depressive illness in 1% patients, dementia in 0% patients, forgetfulness in 1% patients, mania/hallucination in 0% patients each, and chronic headache in 1% patients. Neuropathy in form of loss of reflexes, decreased touch sensation was present in 9% patients. Posterior column involvement viz. Loss of joint position, vibration, positive Romberg's sign were present in 34% patients of vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency.


In a small study, it was found that megaloblastic anemia may have symptoms and signs referable to several systems including hematology, dermatology, gastrointestinal, neurology, and neuropsychiatry.


Folic acid; hematological manifestations of folic acid deficiency; hematological manifestations of vitamin B12 deficiency; vitamin B12

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