The Link Between Diabetes and Neuropathy

Whether you’ve been rocking a sleeping baby you can’t bear to put down, sitting cross-legged, or sleeping on one side without moving, you’ve likely felt the telltale signs of a “sleeping” limb. First, you feel the dead weight and numbness. Then, as blood begins to flow back to your nerves again, you get that prickly, pins-and-needles sensation. This temporary and perfectly harmless event happens whenever you’ve put pressure on a nerve. 

However, when you have these symptoms with no obvious reason for it, it could be neuropathy. Rather than just a result of a bad sleeping position, neuropathy is nerve damage that results in similar, yet long-term, symptoms. 

At Advantage Spinal Dynamics, Dr. Jamie Ricks can help you understand the root cause of your neuropathy and begin a treatment plan to improve your symptoms. While there are many possible causes of neuropathy, one factor that many people overlook is obesity, obesity’s link to diabetes, and diabetes’ link to neuropathy. Here’s how these connections can affect your nerves.

Effects of obesity on your body

In addition to making your heart work harder, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke, being overweight can also lead to sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, and even neuropathy.

One study explored the reason for the relationship between obesity and neuropathy and found that triglycerides, or the amount of fat in your blood, is the culprit. High levels of triglycerides can damage the nerves responsible for your motor skills. 

Diabetic neuropathy

Because obesity often leads to type 2 diabetes, it’s not surprising that diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common forms of nerve damage. Just as high blood fat can be a problem, so can high blood sugar — the main symptom of diabetes. 

Unregulated blood sugar levels tend to damage your smaller sensory nerves, the ones that make it possible to feel the difference between sandpaper and a puppy’s fur. 

While neuropathy related to diabetes most often affects your legs and feet, it may also impact the nerves in your digestive system, blood vessels, heart, and urinary tract. 

Managing your blood sugar will ease the symptoms of your diabetic nerve pain.

Will losing weight ease my nerve pain? 

In most cases, shedding even a few pounds can help alleviate your neuropathy. Even if your damaged nerves were not caused directly by obesity, being overweight stresses your body and fosters an environment of inflammation that aggravates nerve pain.

Researchers have found that carpal tunnel syndrome, the common condition caused by repetitive movement that gives you wrist and hand pain, is associated with obesity. They showed that your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome increases by up to 13% with each increase in your body mass index if you’re over age 60. 

Losing weight also helps you maintain healthy levels of triglycerides and blood sugars, which, in turn, controls your diabetes and wards off nerve damage.

Break the link between diabetes and neuropathy

While there’s no cure for diabetes and no cure for neuropathy, you can drastically reduce their negative effects by losing some weight. As you work toward that goal, we can help you manage the painful symptoms as well.

At Advantage Spinal Dynamics, our team specializes in cutting-edge laser technology and regenerative medicine that may restore some of your damaged tissues and relieve your pain.

If you’ve been living with neuropathy, call us or request an appointment online today and start feeling better soon. 

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