My sister needs help. She just turned 70 on Jan 23. For the past 8-10 month she has been suffering with severe stomach pain and diarrhea. She has been to several doctors, one of which told her "you'll have to live with it". She even checked her self in at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore only to have them release her with no answer. She is miserable. Her life consists of lying in bed all day waiting for night so that she can take a pill and get some sleep. Sleep is her only escape. I need to find a doctor who is willing to see my sister and stay with her until he/she finds an answer. She has had numerous tests, they removed her gall bladder but to no avail. Within the last few weeks she has started falling. Although I don't know the details I know she has injured her self from these falls. Can anyone out there suggest what to do?
At age 70, your sister is in the high risk group for vitamin B12 deficiency and may even have the condition autoimmune pernicious anaemia. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are numerous but include diarrhea, stomach pain, and loss of balance. This may not be the problem but definitely worth ruling out if it hasn't already.
The vitamin B12 serum reference range is far too low in most countries and symptoms are well noted to occur in low normal range. Optimal B12 levels are over 800pg/mL or 600pmol/L. A urinary methylmalonic acid (UMMA) test is considered more specific for a B12 deficiency and helps aid in diagnosis. Tests for autoimmune pernicious anaemia - parietal cell antibody and intrinsic factor antibody.
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