Beriberi is a disease which is caused by severe prolonged deficiency of vitamin B1 (also known as thiamine). Beriberi refers to a constellation of heart, gastrointestinal, and nervous system problems from thiamine deficiency. Today, beriberi occurs mostly in patients who abuse alcohol, because drinking heavily can lead to bad nutrition and makes it harder for the body to absorb and store thiamine. Simply said, Beriberi is a nervous system ailment caused by thiamine.
The alternative names of Beri beri are:
When having thiamine deficiency it is best to avoid stressful activities and to relax and adopt therapies that would help the body to relax.
TYPES OF BERI BERI:
Beri beri can be classified into four types. These include:
WET BERI BERI:
This is a common type of beri beri which affects primarily the cardiovascular system. Wet beriberi affects the heart. This form of beri beri is characterised by oedema.
The aetiology of the oedema is twofold:
*Lactate and pyruvate accumulate in the blood and cause vasodilatation and increased extravasation of fluid into the tissues
*The cardiomyopathy of thiamine deficiency causes heart failure.
DRY BERI BERI:
Dry beriberi causes wasting and partial paralysis resulting from damaged peripheral nerves. It is also referred to as endemic neuritis.
This is a second type of beri beri.It affects primarily the nervous system. This condition has an insidious onset. The patient may present late, with two main deficits:
*A Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome
The polyneuropathy is characterised by:
*Initial involvement of the lower limbs:
*Heavy, stiff legs, then
*Numbness or paraesthesia
*Absent ankle jerks
SHOSHIN BERI BERI:
This is a rapidly evolving and frequently fatal form of cardiovascular beriberi. Problems walking, shortness of breath, swollen feet and legs are the symptoms of shoshin beri beri.
INFANTILE BERI BERI:
Infantile beriberi tends to strike babies between the ages of one and four months who are breastfed by mothers who are severely thiamine deficient. It occurs, usually acutely, in breast-fed babies at approximately 3 months of age. The mothers show no signs of thiamin deficiency but presumably their body stores must be virtually nil.
CAUSES OF BERI BERI:
Beriberi is caused by a lack of thiamine. It is common in people whose diet consists mainly of polished white rice and in chronic alcoholics with impaired liver function. Common causes of beri beri are as follows:
SYMPTOMS OF BERI BERI:
Symptoms of beriberi are caused by abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates throughout the body, resulting in a decreased production of energy, and particular injury to the heart muscle and the nervous system. Common symptoms of beri beri are as follows:
DRY BERIBERI SYMPTOMS:
*Numbness, tingling, burning pain in extremities
*Pain and cramping in the leg muscles
*Difficulty with speech
*Disturbed sense of balance
WET BERIBERI SYMPTOMS:
*Fast heart rate
*Swollen feet and legs
*Enlarged, tender liver
*Shortness of breath
*congestion in the lungs
INFANTILE BERIBERI SYMPTOMS:
*Swollen arms and legs
*Muscle wasting in arms and legs
TREATMENT FOR BERI BERI:
Beri beri can be reduced by taking appropriate treatment. The goal of treatment is to replace the thiamine that the person’s body is lacking. This is done with thiamine supplements. Thiamine supplements are given through a shot (injection) or taken by mouth.Thiamine 50 mg i.m. is given for 3 days, followed by 25 mg of thiamine daily by mouth. The response in wet beriberi occurs in hours, giving dramatic improvement, but in dry beriberi improvement is often slow to occur. In most cases all the B vitamins are given because of multiple deficiencies. Infantile beriberi is treated by giving thiamine to the mother, which is then passed on to the infant via the breast milk.
Blood tests may be done after the person is given thiamine supplements to see how well they are responding to the medicine.
FOOD SOURCES FOR BERI BERI:
To get remedy from beri beri, a person must take the following foods. The following foods are good sources of Vitamin B1:
*Rye and whole-wheat flour.
*Navy beans and kidney beans.
DIETARY TIPS FOR BERI BERI:
Diet is a quiet effective remedy for beri beri. The most
important use of thiamine is in the treatment of beriberi, a condition caused by a deficiency of thiamine in the dietTo get a solution from beri beri, a person must avoid alcohol and smoking especially junk foods that deplete thiamine. Deficiency results in insomnia, fatigue confusion and poor memory and muscle coordination. Foods rich in thiamine include brewers yeast, whole grains, wild rice, mushrooms, yogurt, almonds and broccoli.
Dairy products, fruits, and vegetables are not very high in
thiamine, but when consumed in large amounts, they become a significant source.
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