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What is beriberi?

Kira Dobrovolskaya
Kira Dobrovolskaya
March 21, 2013
What is beriberi?

Beriberi is a disease that contributes to the lack of vitamin B1 in the human body. It is a form of beriberi that can lead to serious illnesses. Vitamin B1, also called thiamine, is involved in metabolic processes. A lack of this vitamin in the human body can lead to accumulation of pyruvic acid in the blood and to its high concentration in the nervous system. The result of such a violation of the biochemical process may be Wernicke encephalopathy (brain damage) or polyneuritis (damage to the nervous system). Polyneuritis is just a disease of beriberi.

Causes of beriberi

As already mentioned, the development of beriberi contributes to the lack of vitamin B1. This deficiency occurs due to the lack of the right amount of this vitamin in food or due to impaired ability of the body to perceive it.

In developed countries, such a disease is rare, because the food of modern man is rich in vitamin B1, but in regionswhere the staple food is white polished rice, people often suffer from such a disease.

Beriberi symptoms

Beriberi symptoms will depend on which system is affected - nervous or cardiovascular, and also on what type of beriberi hit a person - dry (affects the nervous system) or wet (affects the cardiovascular system).

Symptoms of dry beriberi:

  1. loss of coordination;
  2. difficulty walking;
  3. loss of sensation;
  4. slurred speech;
  5. paralysis;
  6. unusual sensations in the legs and arms (eg, tingling);
  7. uncontrolled eye movements;
  8. problems with logic and memory;
  9. vomiting;
  10. severe pain and discomfort.

Symptoms of wet beriberi:

  1. fatigue;
  2. increased heart rate;
  3. pain and swelling in the legs, swelling of the oral cavity;
  4. dyspnea.

Beriberi treatment

Treatment of this disease must occur under the supervision of a physician. The main principle is to bring the vitamin B1 content in the human body back to normal with the help of special preparations and injections. At the onset of the disease, it is possible to quickly and successfully get rid of it, but if the disease has already seriously developed, then it can lead to serious consequences.When started, beriberi can lead to neurological diseases, psychotic conditions, heart failure, loss of consciousness, coma.

Disease prevention is the nutrition of foods rich in vitamin B1.


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