HomeDiseaseBeriberi (Thiamine Deficiency) - Causes, Symptoms & Risk Factors

Beriberi (Thiamine Deficiency) – Causes, Symptoms & Risk Factors


Beriberi is a common disease that is caused for want of vitamin B1 (thiamine) in the human body. Anybody may suffer from this disease who is badly feeding. In the U.S.A this disease is almost scarce as the available foods are full of vitamins.
The very general reason for beriberi in the U.S.A is the action of alcohol on the human system. Too much use of alcohol may reduce the body’s capacity to take up thiamine, leading to a shortage. Sometimes, it may be hereditary. It may also attack babies whose mother’s eating habits are insufficient in thiamine (01 ).

Symptoms of beriberi:

General symptoms of beriberi are as under:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle damage with loss of muscle function of the lower legs
  • Abdominal pain or nausea
  • Loss of feeling (sensation) in hands and feet
  • Mental confusion/speech difficulties
  • Edema (fluid retention)
  • Poor concentration
  • Severe muscle aches and pains
  • Vomiting
  • Strange eye movements (nystagmus)
  • Tingling in the limbs

beriberi men

Causes of beriberi:-

The major cause of suffering from this disease is the shortage of vitamin B1 (thiamine) in eating habits for quite a long time.

In exceptional cases due to hereditary syndrome beriberi may crop up which causes incapability to take up vitamin B1 (thiamine) from the foodstuff that is eaten.

beriberi family image

Risk factors for beriberi:-

The risk factors can mainly check to instigate:

  • Alcohol abuse –

Want sufficient vitamin B1 in the food habits of the people who drink excessively. They require having their blood tests to examine their level of nutrients and supplementation to stop dietetic deficit.

  • Baby formula –

In the case of babies only nourished by baby formula may get beriberi if it does not include sufficient vitamin B1 (thiamine).

  • Extreme dieting –

People who are in the habit of excessive food habits which control their food intake may lacking in vitaminB1 and if the same goes on for a long time, beriberi may grow.


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Written by Dr. Ozair (CEO of SignSymptom.com) as physician writers are physicians who write creatively in fields outside their practice of medicine.

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