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What Does Diabetes Do To Your Nerves?

How Diabetes Can Affect Your Nerves

How Diabetes Can Affect Your Nerves

According to the International Diabetes Federation diabetics run the risk of developing serious health problems affecting the nerves, eyes, kidneys, heart and blood vessels. They also have a higher risk of developing infections. It is important that diabetics maintain cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose at normal or close to normal levels in order to avoid the above problems. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to lower limb amputation, kidney failure, blindness and cardiovascular disease. Diabetic neuropathy Nerve damage as a result of diabetes is referred to as diabetic neuropathy and is a common complication of the disease. Neuropathy means damage to the nerves, something that prevents one from feeling sensations like pain. Consistently high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves in a number of ways, but the damage is mostly experienced as numbness, pain and weakness in the arms, hands, feet and legs. Read: Eric Clapton: Nerve pain like 'electric shocks' The pain caused by diabetes-related nerve damage usually isn’t severe and may be overlooked by the patient. There are four types of diabetic neuropathy: Peripheral neuropathy causes pain or loss of feeling in the hands, arms, feet, and legs. Autonomic neuropathy can cause changes in digestion, bowel and bladder control, and erectile dysfunction. It can also affect the nerves that serve the heart and control blood pressure. Proximal neuropathy causes pain in the thighs and hips and weakness in the legs. Focal neuropathy can affect any nerve in the body, leading to pain or weakness. How does it happen? Endocrine Web explains that there is still a lot uncertainty about exactly how elevated blood glucose levels affect the nerves. A long-term study published in 1993 clearly showed that neuropathy (and other compl Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Nerve Damage

Diabetes And Nerve Damage

In people with diabetes, the body's nerves can be damaged by decreased blood flow and a high blood sugar level. This condition is more likely when the blood sugar level is not well controlled. About one half of people with diabetes develop nerve damage. Symptoms often do not begin until many years after diabetes has been diagnosed. Some people who have diabetes that develops slowly already have nerve damage when they are first diagnosed. People with diabetes are also at higher risk for other nerve problems not caused by their diabetes. These other nerve problems won't have the same symptoms and will progress in a different manner than nerve damage caused by diabetes. Continue reading >>

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy

Dr. Wiley is Professor, Internal Medicine and Director, Michigan Clinical Research Unit, and Dr. Towns is Research Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI. Diabetes, formally known as diabetes mellitus, affects 171 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Type I diabetes usually starts in childhood or early adulthood, while the onset of type 2 diabetes is typically much later, often in middle-age. Diabetes affects many of the body’s systems and functions, not the least of which may be the nervous system. When the nervous system is affected, diabetic neuropathy can result. This occurs when too much sugar (hyperglycemia) circulates in the blood stream over a long period of time. Some people with neuropathy may not have any symptoms at all, while others will experience pain, tingling, or numbness in their hands, arms, feet, or legs. Many patients will first notice numbness, tingling, or pain in the feet. These symptoms are usually mild in the beginning but may worsen over the years, and then actually decrease in later years, as the nerve damage gets worse. It is thought that 60-70% of people with diabetes will develop some form of neuropathy over their lifetimes. While it is still somewhat unclear, diabetic neuropathy tends to occur after about five years of high blood sugar, and it usually peaks after about 25 years. Some people with neuropathy may not have any symptoms at all, while others will experience pain, tingling, or numbness in their hands, arms, feet, or legs. Diabetic neuropathy can also affect different organ systems, including the cardiovascular, genital-urinary, digestive, and vision. Though the origin of type 1 and type 2 diabetes Continue reading >>

High Blood Sugar Is Toxic To Your Nerves — Here’s How To Avoid It

High Blood Sugar Is Toxic To Your Nerves — Here’s How To Avoid It

If you have diabetes, you know it well: Too much sugar isn’t good for you. People whose blood sugar is too high or difficult to control are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, eye problems and other complications, including nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy). “High blood sugar is toxic to your nerves,” says pain management specialist Robert Bolash, MD. “When a nerve is damaged, you may feel tingling, pins and needles, burning or sharp, stabbing pain.” Diabetic neuropathy typically starts in your toes, feet or ankles and creeps up your body as the condition worsens, he says. However, nerve damage also can affect your hands and wrists as well as your heart, digestive system, sex organs and more. How to avoid diabetic neuropathy Up to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some kind of nerve damage, reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). “Anyone with diabetes can get nerve damage at any time,” says Dr. Bolash. “There is an association with very high levels of blood sugar and the development of diabetic neuropathy, but the two do not always go hand in hand.” Unfortunately, even patients with very mild cases of diabetes may be affected with severe cases of nerve pain, he says. According to the NIDDK, the highest rates of nerve damage are among people who have had diabetes 25 years or longer. To avoid diabetic neuropathy, Dr. Bolash advises: Control your blood sugar — and keep it as close to nondiabetic levels as possible. Bad news, good news The bad news about diabetic neuropathy is that it’s tough to reverse. It also can cause serious problems, especially in your feet. If you don’t feel blisters, sores or other foot injuries and don’t promptly care for them, you can develop ragi Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Central Nervous System – What You Need To Know

Diabetes And Central Nervous System – What You Need To Know

If you are a diabetes patient and have not been able to control your blood glucose levels, then the blood vessels in the different nerves start getting damaged and do not function efficiently. When the blood vessels of the nerves are adversely affected, the patient stops feeling a kind of numbness and the functioning of the affected nerve areas stop. Similarly, various organs of the body stop functioning such as digestive system, circulatory system, reproductive organs etc. How Does Diabetes Lead to Nerve Damage Diabetes is essentially a metabolic condition and changes in the metabolic structure cause damage in the nerves. Abnormally levels of fat, low levels of the hormone insulin can lead to nerve damage. Besides, if you are someone who has had diabetes for long, you are more susceptible to getting the condition. Finally, there could be some injury caused to the nerves due to several factors. Diabetic neuropathy is nothing but the various types of nerve disorders caused by diabetes. The nerve damage can be developed in different parts of the body as time passes by. Amongst the people who suffer from diabetes, around 60 to 70 percent of the patients suffer from one or the other type of diabetic neuropathy. If you are diabetic for over 25 to 30 years, you will be highly susceptible to contracting the condition. What are the Diabetic Nerve Damage Symptoms? Most of the times, the diabetic neuropathy patients do not experience any signs or symptoms whatsoever.Besides, the symptoms may be different for different types of nerve damage caused. However, as the time progresses, a few signs do start surfacing. Some of the signs and symptoms include: Irregular bowel movements leading to constipation or diarrhea. Urination problems. Weakness caused in the body. Pain in the toes or Continue reading >>

Diabetic Nerve Pain And What You Can Do About It

Diabetic Nerve Pain And What You Can Do About It

One of the saddest statistics about diabetes is that, at the time of their diagnosis, fully 48% of those newly diagnosed with diabetes already have signs of diabetic nerve damage. You can see this documented in this table where "impaired foot sensitivity" is a diagnostic sign of neuropathy: Prevalence of microvascular complications at the time of diagnosis in diabetic patients identified by screening and in general practice which is taken from this study: Microvascular Complications at Time of Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes Are Similar Among Diabetic Patients Detected by Targeted Screening and Patients Newly Diagnosed in General Practice: The Hoorn Screening Study It is known from studies of people with Type 1 diabetes that it takes a decade of exposure to elevated blood sugars to produce neuropathy. But high blood sugars creep up on people with Type 2 diabetes, and it turns out that even blood sugars in the "prediabetic" range can cause it. You can read more about the research that documents the relationship of high post-meal blood sugars to neuropathy HERE. Doctors miss the early diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes in these people because they rely on the fasting glucose test, or perhaps the A1c test, to screen for diabetes. Unfortunately, neurologists who have researched the topic have found that the incidence of neuropathy correlates entirely to rising post-meal blood sugars, not fasting glucose or A1c. As soon as post-meal blood sugars (or GTT blood sugars) go over 140 mg/dl (7.7 mmol/L) the incidence of neuropathy starts to rise. It starts with small nerve fibers and with extended exposure to high blood sugars, extends to the thicker fibers. But even after they diagnose people with Type 2 diabetes, the treatment that doctors give their patients ensures that even those who Continue reading >>

Nerve Damage (diabetic Neuropathies)

Nerve Damage (diabetic Neuropathies)

What are diabetic neuropathies? Diabetic neuropathies are a family of nerve disorders caused by diabetes. People with diabetes can, over time, develop nerve damage throughout the body. Some people with nerve damage have no symptoms. Others may have symptoms such as pain, tingling, or numbness—loss of feeling—in the hands, arms, feet, and legs. Nerve problems can occur in every organ system, including the digestive tract, heart, and sex organs. About 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. People with diabetes can develop nerve problems at any time, but risk rises with age and longer duration of diabetes. The highest rates of neuropathy are among people who have had diabetes for at least 25 years. Diabetic neuropathies also appear to be more common in people who have problems controlling their blood glucose, also called blood sugar, as well as those with high levels of blood fat and blood pressure and those who are overweight. What causes diabetic neuropathies? The causes are probably different for different types of diabetic neuropathy. Researchers are studying how prolonged exposure to high blood glucose causes nerve damage. Nerve damage is likely due to a combination of factors: metabolic factors, such as high blood glucose, long duration of diabetes, abnormal blood fat levels, and possibly low levels of insulin neurovascular factors, leading to damage to the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to nerves autoimmune factors that cause inflammation in nerves mechanical injury to nerves, such as carpal tunnel syndrome inherited traits that increase susceptibility to nerve disease lifestyle factors, such as smoking or alcohol use What are the symptoms of diabetic neuropathies? Symptoms depend on the type of neuropathy and which Continue reading >>

Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide To Achieving Normal Blood Sugars

Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide To Achieving Normal Blood Sugars

Neuropathy is a word which means "sick nerves." It is an early complication of diabetes which starts to occur in people who have blood sugars most doctors dismiss as "normal" or "mildly prediabetic." Because nerves are damaged by the "mildly" elevated blood sugar levels that most doctors ignore, almost one half of people with Type 2 diabetes already have detectable neuropathy by the time they have been diagnosed with diabetes. Many other people who are never officially diagnosed with diabetes but have higher than normal blood sugars also get "diabetic" neuropathy. It may be a major cause of the impotence so common among men in their 40s and older. You can read the research that connects "prediabetic" blood sugars with the rising incidence of neuropathy here: Research Connecting Blood Sugar Levels with Organ Damage The pain of neuropathy usually starts out in your feet. It can feel like tingling or burning, though some people experience it as feeling like there is something stuck between their toes when nothing is actually there. Less commonly, diabetic neuropathy can cause problems in the hands and arms. Nerves affected by neuropathy eventually become numb. This may feel better than having the painful nerves of early neuropathy, it is more dangerous, because when your nerves are numb, your immune system loses the ability to fight infection, making you vulnerable to the unchecked infections that lead to amputation. When you are examined after your diabetes diagnosis, your doctor should test your feet with a tuning fork or a thin filament that looks like fishing line to see if you have dead nerves in your feet you may not have noticed. Many people with diabetes do and it is an important finding which tells the doctor that you are at risk for serious infections. If the doc Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Your Eyes, Heart, Nerves, Feet, And Kidneys

Diabetes And Your Eyes, Heart, Nerves, Feet, And Kidneys

Diabetes is a serious disease that can affect your eyes, heart, nerves, feet and kidneys. Understanding how diabetes affects your body is important. It can help you follow your treatment plan and stay as healthy as possible. If your diabetes is not well controlled, the sugar level in your blood goes up. This is called “hyperglycemia” (high blood sugar). High blood sugar can cause damage to very small blood vessels in your body. Imagine what happens to sugar when it is left unwrapped overnight. It gets sticky. Now imagine how sugar “sticks” to your small blood vessels and makes it hard for blood to get to your organs. Damage to blood vessels occurs most often in the eyes, heart, nerves, feet, and kidneys. Let’s look at how this damage happens. Eyes. Having high levels of sugar in your blood for a long time can harm the tiny blood vessels in your eyes. This can result in vision problems or blindness. Heart. High blood sugar may also harm larger blood vessels in your body that supply oxygen to your heart and brain. Fat can build up in the blood vessels as well. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Nerves. Nerves carry important messages between your brain and other parts of your body. Having high levels of sugar in your blood for many years can damage the blood vessels that bring oxygen to some nerves. Damaged nerves may stop sending pain signals. Feet. Diabetes can harm your feet in two ways. First, it can damage your body’s nerves. Nerve damage stops you from feeling pain or other problems in your feet. Another way that diabetes can cause damage to your feet is from poor blood circulation. Poor blood flow makes it hard for a sore or infection to heal. If sores don’t heal and get infected, it can lead to amputation. Kidneys. Think of your kidneys like Continue reading >>

Everything You Should Know About Diabetic Neuropathy

Everything You Should Know About Diabetic Neuropathy

What is diabetic neuropathy? Diabetic neuropathy is a serious and common complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It’s a type of nerve damage caused by uncontrolled high blood sugar levels. You may not initially have any symptoms. The condition usually develops slowly, sometimes over the course of several decades. If you have diabetes and are experiencing numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness of your hands or feet, call your doctor. These are the early symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. In cases of severe or prolonged peripheral neuropathy, you may experience injuries or infections in your extremities. In some cases, these can lead to amputation. Damage to other nerves of the body can cause other symptoms. That’s why it’s important to regularly monitor your blood sugar levels and contact your doctor if have any symptoms of neuropathy. It’s common for symptoms of neuropathy to appear gradually. In many cases, the first type of nerve damage to occur involves the nerves of the feet. This can lead to symptoms such as the sensation of pins and needles in your feet. Symptoms vary depending on the nerves affected. Common signs and symptoms of diabetic neuropathy include: sensitivity to touch loss of sense of touch difficulty with coordination when walking numbness or pain in your extremities muscle weakness or wasting nausea and indigestion diarrhea or constipation dizziness upon standing excessive sweating vaginal dryness in women and erectile dysfunction in men Symptoms may vary depending on the type of neuropathy you’re experiencing. The term neuropathy is used to describe several types of nerve damage. In people with diabetes, there are four main types of neuropathy you may develop. Peripheral neuropathy The most common form of neuropathy is peripheral neuropa Continue reading >>

How Type 2 Diabetes Can Damage Your Body

How Type 2 Diabetes Can Damage Your Body

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S.(ISTOKEPHOTO) Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes by farmaking up more than 90% of the 24 million cases in the U.S. Experts use words like "epidemic" and "worldwide crisis" when they talk about it: Millions of people have it and a staggering number are expected to get it (300 million worldwide by 2025, according to one study). Diabetes doesn't get the attention of, say, cancer or scary viruses. One reason might be because type 2 diabetes is so incredibly commonabout 20% of people over age 60 get it. A large chunk of the population just seems to have the genetic programming to develop the disease with age. Type 2 diabetes is showing up in young people However, diabetes is also on the rise because our modern lifestylelots of food and little exercisespeeds up the process. So people who might have developed this "old-age disease" in their 60s and 70s are now developing the disease much earlier due to obesity and lack of exercise; sometimes in their teens or in childhood. Anyone can get diabetes. But some people are at much higher risk, particularly those who are obese. (Are you overweight? Use this body mass index calculator to find out.) One in three children born in the U.S. in 2000 will develop diabetes at some point in their life (including more than half of Hispanic females), according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published in 2003. But not all is gloom and doom. If you have diabetes, you have a lot more control over the disease now than just about any other point in history. And if you have prediabetes, you have a good chance of preventing or delaying the disease by making lifestyle changes or taking medication. What happens in the body when you have type 2 diabetes Wit Continue reading >>

Diabetes Mellitus Can Affect The Nervous System

Diabetes Mellitus Can Affect The Nervous System

The nervous system can be affected by diabetes mellitus, both directly and indirectly. Examples of direct effects are when blood glucose levels get very high or very low, both of which can cause the brain to not function normally. Examples of indirect cause would be atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is accelerated due to diabetes mellitus, and therefore the risk of stroke is increased. The brain's only source of fuel under normal conditions is glucose, and it likes it in just the right amounts. It actually can tolerate high glucose levels, much better than low. The blood sugar four times normal, for example although not good to have, will not damage the brain. A blood sugar level 1/4 of normal, however, can be life-threatening, leading to seizures, coma or death. The body is very good at giving warning signs of low sugar with symptoms such as sweating, palpitations, anxiety, nausea and tremor. But these are not always completely fail-safe. When glucose gets extremely high, such as over 600 (or is associated with ketosis) then lethargy, and even coma can occur. Often there are precipitating factors that set off these high glucose states such as infection, trauma, stroke, myocardial infarction, pregnancy, or not taking one's insulin. Sometimes it is the initial presentation of diabetes mellitus. The other direct effect of diabetes is neuropathy. Neuropathy is when the nerve endings furthest from the body; often starting in the feet, do not function normally; producing symptoms such as numbness, tingling, pain, burning, lack of feeling and imbalance. Diabetes is one of the most common causes of this condition. Although there are competing theories as to its cause, nerves work optimally when glucose and insulin are at the correct levels. High glucose levels, metabolites of g Continue reading >>

Effects Of Diabetes On The Body And Organs

Effects Of Diabetes On The Body And Organs

Over time, the raised blood sugar levels that result from diabetes can cause a wide range of serious health issues. But what do these health issues involve, and how are the organs of the body affected? Can these effects be minimized? When people have diabetes, the body either does not make enough insulin or cannot use what it has effectively. As a result, the amount of sugar in the blood becomes higher than it should be. Glucose, or blood sugar, is the main power source for the human body. It comes from the food people eat. The hormone insulin helps the cells of the body convert glucose into fuel. Fortunately, taking a proactive approach to this chronic disease through medical care, lifestyle changes, and medication can help limit its effects. Effect on systems and organs The effects of diabetes can be seen on systems throughout the body, including: The circulatory system Diabetes can damage large blood vessels, causing macrovascular disease. It can also damage small blood vessels, causing what is called microvascular disease. Complications from macrovascular disease include heart attack and stroke. However, macrovascular disease can be prevented by: Microvascular disease can cause eye, kidney, and nerve problems, but good control of diabetes can help prevent these complications. The cardiovascular system Excess blood sugar decreases the elasticity of blood vessels and causes them to narrow, impeding blood flow. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute say diabetes is as big a risk factor for heart disease as smoking or high cholesterol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of stroke or dying of heart disease increases by 200-400 percent for adults with diabetes. The nervous system When people have diabetes, they can develop n Continue reading >>

Effects Of Diabetes

Effects Of Diabetes

In some cases the effects may be short term and can be eliminated through appropriate treatment. In the case of long term complications, any damage sustained tends to be permanent. Whilst there are a lot of ways in which diabetes can affect the body, it’s important to note that the risks of developing health problems can be significantly reduced through good management of diabetes and living a healthy life. Heart Higher than normal blood sugar levels over a period of time can lead to an increase in risk of damage occurring to larger blood vessels in the body. This raises the risk of blood clots forming in blood vessels which can lead to heart attacks – a form of coronary heart disease. Approximately, 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. Learn more about Heart disease. Brain The brain is another major organ that can pose a threat to life if it is affected by damage or blockages in its blood supply. Elevated blood sugar levels over a long period of time can cause blockages in the blood vessels supplying the brain, resulting in stroke, and can also damage the very small blood vessels in the outer part of the brain, increasing the risk of brain damage and conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. In the short term, too low blood glucose levels can lead to a reduced ability to make decisions and cause confusion and disorientation. Nerves The nerves play a very important part throughout the body. Not only do they allow us to sense touch, nerves also allow our organs to function properly. For instance, nerves are crucial in helping the digestive system to sense how it should respond. If the nerves become damaged we can lose our ability to sense pain in parts of the body that are affected and if nerve damage (ne Continue reading >>

Leg, Foot, And Organ Damage With Diabetes

Leg, Foot, And Organ Damage With Diabetes

Healthy nerves carry messages to our muscles and organs. Having high blood sugar levels for a long time can damage nerves throughout the body. Also, the older people get and the longer they have diabetes, the more likely they are to have some nerve damage. When nerves become damaged, they can't send messages, the messages they send get interrupted, or the messages get mixed up. This is a condition called diabetic neuropathy. High blood sugar affects: Long nerves from the spinal cord that allow us to move and feel. Smaller nerves that support our body organs including the heart, stomach, and bladder. Leg and Foot Damage Long nerves from the spinal cord send messages to the lower legs and feet. When blood sugar levels stay high, the nerve cells swell and scar. After a while, the nerves can't send messages to the legs and feet the way they should. When this happens, it can cause people to lose feeling in their legs and feet, making it hard to sense pressure or pain. It can also cause uncomfortable feelings in the arms and legs, like tingling, shooting pains, or aching. This condition is known as peripheral neuropathy. Damaged nerves can also affect the muscles in the legs and feet, causing them to lose shape. When muscles in the foot lose their shape, they aren't able to hold the bones and joints of the feet together, or they can pull up on the bones, causing the foot to become deformed. These kinds of changes can put pressure on parts of the foot that aren't meant for walking, making it harder and more painful to walk. Sometimes people lose feeling in their feet without realizing it. When people don't know they've lost feeling, it can lead to very serious foot problems, including wounds that won't heal. Treatment Ask your doctor or other member of your health care team to Continue reading >>

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