why can a deficiency be dangerous?

In the latest symptom series, Symptoms, Dr. Nathan Ebstein discusses the case of a patient admitted to hospital. neurological disorders and heart failure. Already taken care of in 2019, the man returns after two years, with similar but increased disorders.

During the week, a 56-year-old patient, an accountant, and the father of two children gradually lost their limb use. In this paralysis attached breathing problems the occurrence of ankle edema is also important. “We are not worried about the lack of legs and arms, because it is not life-threatening, but it is beginning to develop. organ failure, he is in danger of death“Explains the doctor.

However, medical records do not, at first glance, show a history that could explain such a situation. None diabetes, none high blood pressure or chronic illness … The patient has been in good health so far. Faced with the urgency of this case, Dr. Ebstein’s team becomes powerless. Several of the methods studied remain unsuccessful and the patient’s condition worsens.

We are well aware that vitamin B1 deficiency can cause neurological damage, which can also become heart damage.


Dr. Nathan Ebstein

“It simply came to our notice then vitamin deficiency B1, which can give neurological disorders, which can become a heart injury, “explains the doctor. This deficiency is especially well known severe chronic alcoholics. Nevertheless, the man does not show any noticeable addiction or dependence. The hypothesis therefore proves unconvincing.

However key element the patient’s medical records do not appear to have been observed so far. “There is indeed an element in the reports, like the history of surgery in 1988, during a trip to Turkey. He underwent stomach surgery for an ulcer. We don’t have any more information, “says Dr. Ebstein.

Missed under the radar, the key to the riddle was still in the eyes of the doctors. The surgery the patient underwent in Turkey was actually much larger. “It simply came to our notice then part of the stomach associated with the uptake of vitamin B1 “, contextualized by a pulmonologist. After a bariatric operation of this magnitude, the person should usually be monitored and take vitamin supplements. What this man did not have and what Nathan Ebstein talks about in the podcast “Symptoms”.

This story taught me not to do that
probably did not notice anything and that it was necessary to remain open to slightly insignificant elements


Dr. Nathan Ebstein

Whole grains, pork, yeast… vitamin B1 is found in many everyday foods. Essential for the functioning of the body, it plays an important role in carbohydrate metabolism. Without it, nerves and muscles cannot function properly.

This vitamin B1 deficiency is also called Beriberi League, it usually occurs in two ways. Dry form causes, among other things, decreased sensitivity, loss of muscle mass, or even neurological symptoms. Wet form, in turn, especially the reasons edema and an heart failure important. This shortcoming can be dangerous or even fatal if not treated in time.

Today the disease is treated by a vitamin B1 supplements injections and then by mouth. Because of its rarity, especially in the West, this deficiency seems like a largely forgotten diagnosis. “This story has taught me that you probably shouldn’t notice anything and that you need to be open to things that are a little insignificant.”explains Nathan Ebstein.

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