Diary of Unknown Symptoms

Mystery of the Internal Vibration

Entry for June 15, 2006

Beriberi – this is caused by thiamin deficiency and affects the cardiovascular, muscular, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. As well as the above symptoms, a person with ‘dry’ beriberi may have: nerve degeneration, nervous tingling throughout the body, poor arm and leg coordination, and deep pain in the calf muscles. Symptoms of ‘wet’ beriberi include: an enlarged heart, heart failure and severe oedema (swelling).


Beriberi causes different symptoms in different people. One form, called dry beriberi, causes nerve and muscle abnormalities. Symptoms include a prickling (pins-and-needles) sensation in the toes, a burning sensation in the feet that is particularly severe at night, and pain, weakness, and wasting (atrophy) of muscles in the legs.

Brain abnormalities due to vitamin B1 deficiency occur primarily in alcoholics. Brain abnormalities may develop when a chronic vitamin B1 deficiency is suddenly worsened by a rapid, substantial decrease in the vitamin B1 level (which can be caused by an alcoholic binge) or by a sudden increase in vitamin B1 requirements (which may occur when an undernourished alcoholic is fed intravenously).


Wet beriberi: Improvement is observed in the first 6-24 hours after thiamin administration.

Cyanosis disappears, Heart rate reduces, Respiratory rate reduces. Diuresis and reduction in heart size may be apparent within 1-2 days.

In cases of dry beriberi and Korsakoff psychosis, the complete resolution of the neurologic symptoms can take several months.

oh great…the complete resolution of the neurologic symptoms can take several months. Well I’ve waited this long. Maybe I’ll think about getting a test done to prove this diagnosis once and for all.

One study on human starvation found that in thiamine vitamin B. deficiency, symptoms such as lack of well being, anxiety, hysteria, depression, and loss of appetite preceded any clinical evidence of beriberi. Other studies using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personal Index (MMPI) have also demonstrated that adverse behavioral changes precede physical findings in thiamine deficiency. Indeed, thiamine treatment—as much as 300 mg—is used to treat Wernicke’s encephalopathy (cerebral beriberi), an acute brain disorder whose early stages are characterized by mental confusion, an inability to think of words, and fabrication of “facts” (Winter and Winter, 1988).

Confusion, forgetfulness, and irritability—symptoms often diagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease—may actually be an easily treated vitamin B deficiency. Untreated, the deficiency can lead to irreversible spinal cord degeneration, other neurologic problems, and serious anemias. If your patient is a vegetarian, such a deficiency may result from inadequate compensation for a lack of red meat. Elderly patients may be deficient owing to malabsorption of the vitamin. A B 2 deficiency can be diagnosed with a blood or urine test. Once detected, a monthly intramuscular B2 injection is recommended.


June 15, 2006 - Posted by | Health | ,

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