Why Does Diabetes Cause Neuropathy
Posted on Sep 08, 2023

Every 23 seconds a new diabetic is diagnosed in the U.S. Recent data from the CDC revealed that over 37 million Americans live with diabetes and 50% of those suffer from neuropathy.

Read on to learn more about what causes this common nerve-damaging complication.

The nervous system is a busy network of chemical messages (neurotransmitters) exchanged between the brain and the body’s systems. These neurotransmitters are typically released at the ends of a nerve and inside or near cells. The brain’s job is to interpret sensations, move muscles and so much more. The chemical messengers rely upon electrical signals that are transmitted through the nerves themselves.

Healthy nerves quickly translate these messages to the various body systems that play a vital role in regulating:

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Blood Pressure
  • Digestion
  • Bladder Control
  • Sexual Function
  • The Musculoskeletal system

Sustained high blood sugar damages nerves and blocks these signals and a condition called neuropathy results. Diabetic neuropathy is common in people with uncontrolled diabetes or those lacking a formal diabetes diagnosis.

Surprisingly, diabetic neuropathy is actually more prevalent in the 96 million adults with prediabetes because their blood sugar levels are constantly elevated and left untreated.

Why Does Diabetes Cause Neuropathy?

Small blood vessels (capillaries) supply nerves with oxygen-rich nutrients required to function properly. Chronic high blood sugar weakens and damages the capillaries that supply the nerves.

Hyperglycemia also damages the structure of a nerve itself. With too much blood glucose for too long, toxic byproducts are manufactured and these attack the molecular structures of the nerves.

Peripheral neuropathy is the most common type of diabetic neuropathy and refers to damage outside the brain and spinal cord in the nerves located farthest from the central nervous system–the peripheral nerves.

Early signs of peripheral nerve damage such as numbness, tingling, or burning are felt in the feet and legs first. A more subtle finding will be dry, flaking, or scaling skin that never seems to go away.

If you have numbness it’s vital to check your feet daily, especially the soles (use a hand mirror placed on the floor) for small cuts or sores that may progress to more serious diabetic lesions. Keeping feet well moisturized with a quality foot cream will lubricate and protect the skin from tears.

Depending on the location of the nerves affected, other types of diabetic neuropathy include:

Autonomic - affects the body systems and internal organs that run automatically, such as the digestive and cardiovascular systems. Common complaints reported from this type of neuropathy are; constipation, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, sweating, and heart palpitations.

Proximal - is marked by muscle weakness and sharp pain in the hips, buttocks, or thighs. Often impairs mobility. It's rare and occurs more frequently in older adults.

Focal - refers to damage and weakness in specific nerves located in the head, hands, torso, or legs. One common type of compression neuropathy that falls under this category is carpel tunnel syndrome.

Preventing Diabetic Neuropathy

One of the best strategies for prevention is controlling your blood sugar levels to ward off nerve damage. Daily exercise such as walking, especially after carb-heavy meals also helps stabilize blood sugars and combat insulin spikes and crashes.

Also smart:

  • Avoiding excess or added sugars
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Quitting smoking
  • Managing weight
  • Monitoring blood pressure
  • Avoid added fructose products

ALA is unique because it supports your body’s natural free radical scavenging systems and can also recycle the antioxidant vitamins C and E, extending their function.

As you reduce inflammation levels in the body, you may start to see your neuropathic pain go away and your overall health improve.

This supplement provides powerful support to your entire nervous system.

It both provides essential nutrients your body needs to produce its own antioxidants, while giving you a clinical dose of anti-inflammatories to help soothe frayed nerve endings and reduce neuropathic pain.