Beriberi is usually caused by poor diet or alcoholism.

Causes: the lack of vitamin B1 the diet

Higher risk persons: People who are older adults, alcoholics or have diabetes are higher at risk for this condition. This is because of their poor diet and possibly lack of funds for the correct nutrition. There is a rare condition called genetic beriberi which blocks the body's ability to absorb vitamin B1 and this can cause Beriberi to happen.



The treatment required depends on severity of the diagnose

Beriberi is treatable by a medical professional as it requires a medical diagnosis before treatment can begin.

Foods to improve Thiamine/vitamin B1 include BROWN rice,      

Medication:  B1 supplements


Prevention: It can include eating more B1-rich foods, such as wholegrain cereals, beans and beef.

Beriberi is one of the serious and potentially lethal side effects of malnutrition. 

Beri beri causes a red rash on the body, especially on the hands and feet

Symptoms include painful and tender muscles

  • Loss of reflexes in knees and feet
  • Paresthesia
  • Wrist drop
  • Footdrop
  • Dyspnoea
  • Orthopnoea
  • Confusions
  • Dilation of hte heart


There are 2 main types of Beriberi or Thiamine deficiency:

Dry Beriberi -

Numbness of hands and feet, affecting the nervous system

  • Causes difficulty when walking
  • Loss of tendon reflexes
  • Mental confusion
  • Involuntary eye movements
  • Pain
  • Vomiting

Wet Beriberi:

Affecting the heart - presents with:

  • Tachycardia /increased heart rate,
  • Shortness of breath
  • Leg swelling

Infantile Acute Beriberi

which affects mostly babies of malnourished mothers

Gastorintestinal Beriberi

Presents with:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Enlarged heart
  • Acidosis
  • Vomiting








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