- by Bangalore Baptist Hospital
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- Feb 12 2018
What is beriberi?
It is a syndrome characterized by a group of symptoms exhibited by people who are deficient in vitamin B1 and it is also known as thiamine deficiency.
There are two types of beriberi:
Wet beriberi: It affects the heart and circulatory system and in extreme cases, it can cause heart failure.
Dry beriberi: It damages the nerves and can lead to decreased muscle strength and eventually, muscle paralysis. It can be life-threatening if not treated.
The main cause of beriberi is a diet low in thiamine. It is very common in regions of the world where the diet includes unenriched, processed white rice.
- Wet beriberi symptoms include shortness of breath during the physical exam, waking up short of breath, rapid heart rate, and swollen lower legs.
- Dry beriberi symptoms include, decreased muscle function, tingling or loss of feeling in the feet and hands, pain, mental confusion, difficulty speaking, vomiting, involuntary eye movement, and paralysis.
- Blood test
- Urine test
- The neurological exam to look after difficulty in walking, droopy eyelids, and weak reflexes.
It is easily treated by thiamine supplements.
It can be prevented by eating the balanced diet that includes foods rich in thiamine. These include:
- Beans and legumes
- Whole grains
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