A month or so ago, I started getting a weird itching and heating sensation along my jawlines and in my ears. I could best describe it as being 'under the skin' and it was driving me INSANE. I made an appointment with a new dermatologist at the hospital, even though I sensed this was not a skin issue.
She was fantastic. She'd already looked at my file and had questions about my nutrition post-lapband.
She agreed this was not a skin thing, but rather an inappropriate nerve reaction.
So she ordered up some blood work. When the test results came back, she called me immediately. Turns out I have Beriberi syndrome. It's a B1 or Thiamine deficiency and can be fatal. Luckily we caught it early and the symptoms should be reversible. The important thing was that we arrest the development, get my thiamine levels up to an acceptable place and hold off the really bad symptoms --
"Untreated, beriberi is often deadly. With treatment, symptoms usually improve quickly.
Heart damage is usually reversible, and a full recovery is expected. However, if acute heart failure has already occurred, the outlook is poor.
Nervous system damage is also reversible, if caught early. If it is not caught early, some symptoms (such as memory loss) may remain even with treatment.
If a patient with Wernicke's encephalopathy receives thiamine replacement, language problems, unusual eye movements, and walking difficulties may go away. However, Korsakoff syndrome (or Korsakoff psychosis) tends to develop as Wernicke's symptoms go away.
- Congestive heart failure
Turns out Beriberi is VERY uncommon in the developed world because we are so well fed. But when, like I have due to my lapband surgery, you cut out - red meats, leafy greens and fortified whole grains - you lose your thiamine and develop beriberi. Most cases in the development world are found in alcoholics.
SO learn from my lesson, good people. I was TERRIBLE about taking vitamins and supplements and figured I was ok. Not so. I immediately started taking a chewable multi-vitamin and since then have had very few flare ups.