Beriberi is a disease in which the body does not have enough thiamine (vitamin B1).
Alternative Names of Beriberi are: Thiamine deficiency; Vitamin B1 deficiency.
Complications of Beriberi
Causes of Beriberi
There are two major types of beriberi:
Beriberi is rare in the United States because most foods are now vitamin-enriched. If you eat a normal, healthy diet you should get enough thiamine. Today, beriberi occurs mostly in patients who abuse alcohol. Drinking heavily can lead to poor nutrition, and excess alcohol makes it harder for the body to absorb and store thiamine. A rare condition known as genetic beriberi is inherited (passed down through families). People with genetic beriberi lose the ability to absorb thiamine from foods. This can happen slowly over time and symptoms occur when the person is an adult. However, because doctors may not consider beriberi in non-alcoholics, this diagnosis is often missed. Beriberi can occur in breast-fed infants when the mother's body is lacking in thiamine. The condition can also affect infants who are fed unusual formulas that don't have enough thiamine. Getting dialysis and taking high doses of diuretics raise your risk of beriberi.
Signs & Symptoms of Beriberi
Symptoms of dry beriberi include:
Symptoms of wet beriberi include:
Diagnosis of Beriberi
A physical examination may show signs of congestive heart failure, including:
A person with late-stage beriberi may be confused or have memory loss and delusions. The person may be less able to sense vibrations.
A neurological exam may show signs of:
The following tests may be done:
Treatments of Beriberi
Prevention of Beriberi
When to seek Medical Advice
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.