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Diabetes and Nerve Health


What is Diabetic Neuropathy ?

Neuropathy refers to a medical condition where nerves are damaged due to certain diseases. Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes, in which nerves or group of nerves are damaged as a result of high blood sugar level.


People with diabetes (diabetics) can, over time, develop nerve damage. Although there might be no symptoms in the early stage, the following symptoms may develop as he disease progresses :

Pain, tingling or numbness/loss of feeling in the toes, hands, arms, feet, and legs

Wasting of the muscles of the feet or hands

Indigestion, nausea or vomiting

Constipation or diarrhea

Dizziness or faintness due to a drop in blood pressure after standing or sitting up

Problem with urination

Erectile dysfunction in men or vaginal dryness in women

Weakness (fatigue or lethargic)

Symptoms that are not due to neuropathy, but often accompany it, include weight loss and depression.

Nerve problems can occur in every organ system, including the digestive tract, heart, and sex organs.


What are the Consequences of Diabetic Neuropathy ?

Loss of Limb

One of the most common complications of diabetic neuropathy is loss of limb as a result of nerve damage especially nerves at the feet as they are the longest in the body. Because nerve damage can cause a lack or loss of sensation in the feet, sores or injuries may go unnoticed and may eventually become severely ulcerated or infected. Especially diabetes, healing process could be affected due to poorer blood circulation to the feet. This condition is commonly known as Diabetic Foot. Infections that spread tot he bone which causes tissue death could become impossible to treat. at this stage, amputation of the toe, foot or event he lower leg could be the only solution.


Other Complications of Diabetic Neuropathy include joint deformities, sharp pain and extreme sensitivity of limbs, urinary tract infections and urinary incontinence, hypoglycemia unawareness, low blood pressure, digestive problem, sexual dysfunction, eyes complication, profuse sweating and nerve compressions.


How to Prevent or Delay Neuropathy & Its Complications ?

Tight Blood Sugar Control : Keeping your blood sugar to a level recommended by your doctor is the best way to prevent neuropathy. Consistency is crucial as shifts in blood glucose levels can accelerate nerve damage.


Proper Foot Care : People with neuropathy need to take special care of their feet. the nerves to the feet are the longest in the body and are the ones most often affected by neuropathy. Loss of sensation in the feet means that sores or injuries may not be noticed and may become ulcerated or infected. Circulation problems also increase the risk of foot ulcers.


Important of Early High Dose Vitamin B in Diabetic Neuropathy

Studies have proven that high dose combination of vitamin B such as B1, B6 and B12 plays an important role in preventing or slowing down the progression of diabetic neuropathy.


Vitamin B1 - Thiamine

Peripheral neuropathy is associated with impairment of thiamine metabolism. Thiamine, which is necessary for carbohydrate metabolism, is rapidly depleted in diabetics due to high demand by cells needing to manage the high glucose levels. thiamine or Vitamin B1 deficiency mainly leads to nerve damage. This may cause extreme pain and may affect numerous processes in your body; including proper function of the muscular and neurological systems. In addition, Thiamine deficiency can manifest as a problem with your metabolism which can lead to impairment of your digestive system and decrease your processing of glucose.


This can cause you to develop high blood sugar levels that are typical of uncontrolled diabetes and leading to neuropathy.


Researchers found that diabetics are thiamine deficient due to a failure in retaining the B vitamin in the body. As the body cannot produce thiamine, a continuous supply of high dose thiamine can be achieved by thiamine supplements. In addition, thiamine is also found in clinical study to be able to improve renal function in diabetics.


Various reports show that high dose combination of vitamin B1 and vitamin B6 was successfully used to treat symptoms of peripheral neuropathy in diabetics.


Vitamin B6 - Pyridoxine

Deficiency of vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine, is common if you already have diabetic neuropathy. Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that aids the glucose transport system in the body. Without enough of this vitamin, your glucose remains high as your body struggles to process it into energy. Excess glucose levels can cause damage to your neurological system, leading to diabetic neuropathy. Vitamin B6 is necessary for proper conduction of nerve impulses. Vitamin B6 deficiency may be another cause of peripheral neuropathy in diabetics. The University of Virginia Health System states that high dose of vitamin B6 is used to treat peripheral neuropathy.


Vitamin B12 - Cobalamin

Vitamin B12 is extremely important to overall nerve health. Diabetics are often deficient in this vitamin, which causes the classic numbness and tingling of peripheral neuropathy in the feet and hands. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common disorder among diabetics. When this occurs chronically, the protective layer (myelin sheath) that surrounds and protects your nerves becomes prone to damage, which then manifests itself as neuropathy.


Deficiencies of vitamin B12 are typically treated with high dose of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12, a water soluble vitamin, is also necessary for red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis.


Animal based foods such as meat products are good sources of vitamin B12; however, you may not be able to absorb enough to prevent a deficiency. thus, you may require vitamin B12 supplements from your healthcare professionals.


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