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
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
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
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
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
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.