What is Beriberi?

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Beriberi is a disease that is caused due to the deficiency of vitamin B-1 in the body, further leading to heart failure and inflammation of nerves. It exists in two types i.e. dry beriberi and wet beriberi. Both types leave different effects on the human body. Dry beriberi causes reduction in muscle strengths and damage of nerves. It can even lead to death if not cured properly. On the other hand, wet beriberi directly damages the heart function and can even lead to heart failure.  People are always advised to have food rich in vitamin B-1 in order to have less possibility of getting affected from this disease. Whole grains, meat and dairy products are considered to be the best sources of proteins as they are rich in vitamin B-1.


There are many causes of beriberi among which diet low in vitamin B-1 is the primary one. People addicted to alcohol can also be a victim of this disease as their body becomes inefficient to store the particular vitamin. People suffering from diarrhea for long can also get beriberi as diarrhea makes difficult for the body to absorb vitamin B-1. Any defect in the livers can also lead to beriberi.

What can be the symptoms of beriberi? It mostly depends upon the type of beriberi the person is suffering from. Paralysis attack, vomiting, difficulty in speaking, decrease in the functionality of lower legs and mental confusion are the symptoms observed in dry beriberi. Wet beriberi can have symptoms including rapid heart rate, difficulty in breathing due to some physical activity, swelling in lower legs and short breath on waking up. A series of medical tests is required in order to check for diagnosis of beriberi. On finding any of the above mentioned diagnosis, the person must take them seriously and consult the doctor on urgent basis as the small symptoms can lead to serious health problems.

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