Have you been diagnosed with diabetes and are wondering what it means for the future? You may have already heard that nerve damage is a common factor for approximately 70% of diabetics. Whilst some people will not display any symptoms regarding nerve damage, others can experience intense pain.
Why Does Nerve Damage Occur?
In general, the longer you have diabetes and the older you are; the higher your risk of nerve damage. But, studies have also shown that nerve damage is more common when a diabetic is unable or unwilling to control their blood sugar level.
The reason for this is simple:
- High glucose levels in the blood, combined with a slow metabolism and high fat levels prevent the nerves from receiving the nutrients they need. This damages them and causes nerve pain, or neuropathy.
- Inflammation, caused by illness and other factors can damage the nerves. Diabetics are more susceptible to this.
- Your genes can also make it more likely that your nerves will become damaged.
- Smoking, alcohol and excessive eating are all triggers for nerve damage; again the nerves are not getting the nutrients they need.
At a base level, diabetes prevents your body from working properly and restricts the nutrients available to the nerves. Without oxygen and nutrients any part of your body will be damaged and, ultimately, die.
Prevention is better Than Cure!
The first rule of any medical condition is to prevent it from happening; this is generally easier than treating the issue. Although these measures are not guaranteed to stop nerve damage; they will reduce the likelihood of it happening to you:
- Monitor your diet and control your blood sugar levels properly
- Remain active; this helps nutrients to get round your body.
- Speak to your therapist or medical professional as soon as you experience any signs of neuropathy.
Reversing Nerve damage
Unfortunately, the damage is often done before you realize there is an issue. This may be because of your eating habits when you were younger or because you have not displayed any symptoms of nerve damage before.
There are three stages when attempting to reverse nerve damage:
- Blood Sugar Levels
The first step in treating and attempting to reverse nerve damage from diabetes is to bring your blood sugar levels into the normal range; and keep them there! There is little point trying to reverse the effects of excess sugar levels if you are unable to reduce them; you will simply cause more damage.
The key at this stage is to look at your diet and lifestyle; you can then make the adjustments and improvements necessary to control your blood sugar levels.
- Pain Relief
If you have already experienced some nerve damage you may find that you are in pain much of the time. This can be inconvenient or deliberating. Before you will be able to focus on controlling your blood sugar level and potentially repairing the nerve damage you will need to be pain free.
The safest way to do this is by using pain killers. You should discuss the best options for you with your medical professional before taking any.
- Reversing the Nerve damage
Medical treatments are advancing rapidly although at this stage there is no definitive answer within the scientific community which suggests that nerve damage is reversible.
The latest research by the University Of Virginia School Of Medicine, dating from 2016, shows that high glucose levels cause the nerves to react by themselves. In essence it is similar to a child overloading with sugar and bouncing off the ceilings; they cannot control the level of energy they have! Nerves which react by themselves send incorrect messages to the brain; of pain or heat and cold.
The excess glucose in your system changes the structure of the nerve cells. This enables them to absorb more calcium than they need; causing a hyperactive effect and the resulting pain. Understanding the process which is happening is moving scientists a huge step closer to finding a way to reverse the nerve damage.
The Natural Alternative
If your pain is severe and you do not wish to take drugs which make you sleepy then you can consider these alternative options:
- Fish Oil
Fish oil has been used for many years to help treat nerve damage caused by accidents. Your nerves will usually become inflamed and the fish oil can sooth the inflamed muscles round your nerves; allowing them to heal naturally and properly.
- Amino Acid
There is a natural amino acid; known as ALC which has been shown to be an effective pain relief tool. But, this substance has also been shown to return the feeling to your feet after nerve damage has occurred.
It is actually a substance which your body produces in abundance when you are younger. However, as you age the amount of ALC you produce reduces and you are less able to heal damaged nerve fibers! Taking a supplement can reverse the nerve damage already done.
Taking care of your body should always be step one, but scientific research will help to ensure nerve damage is fully reversible in the future.