Thiamine deficiency; Vitamin B1 deficiency
The goal of treatment is to replace the thiamine your body is lacking. This is done with thiamine supplements. Thiamine supplements are given through a shot (injection) or taken by mouth.
Other types of vitamins may also be recommended.
Blood tests may be done after you are given thiamine supplements to see how well you are responding to the medicine.
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.
Beriberi is extremely rare in the United States. However, if you feel your family's diet is inadequate or poorly balanced, and you or your children have any symptoms of beriberi, call your health care provider.
Brust JCM. Nutrition- and alcohol-related neurologic disorders. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 443.
Chenoweth WL. Vitamin B complex deficiency and excess. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 46.
So YT, Simon RP. Deficiency diseases of the nervous system. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2008:chap 61.
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