Blood Sugar Variability and Diabetic Neuropathy Risk

blood sugar monitorA preliminary study may point to blood sugar variability as an independent risk factor for diabetic neuropathy. Although the study involved only 40 adult patients, this type of research may emphasize the importance of leveling out blood sugar readings. Diabetic neuropathy is permanent nerve damage caused by sugar in the blood vessels. This condition can damage any nerves in the body. When high blood sugar damages the optic nerve in the eyes, it is called “diabetic retinopathy.”

The researchers studied patients with Type I or Type II Diabetes. They wore a constant blood sugar monitor. Nerve conduction studies measured nerve damage in the limbs. The scientists estimated glycemic variability by mean amplitude of glycemic excursions (MAGE) of the glycemic data. They found a direct association between swings in blood sugar and diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN).

Half of all diabetic patients experience nerve damage. The risk goes up with age and length of time with the disease. Further research may lead to an additional emphasis on preventing sizable changes in blood sugar levels. Controlling blood sugar levels is crucial in managing diabetes.

Blood Sugar and Diabetic Retinopathy

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include washed-out colors, blurriness, black spots or holes in vision, and central vision loss. In the limbs, you may feel tingling, numbness, pain, prickling, or no feeling at all. Be sure to report symptoms to your doctor.

Type II Diabetes can often be prevented or halted by managing your weight. Excess fat can lead to insulin resistance. The pancreas cannot make enough insulin to keep up with demand. Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI) and exercise daily. If you have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, work closely with your health care practitioner to stabilize your blood sugar.

Study: Diabetol Metab Syndr. 2018 Sep 12;10:69. doi: 10.1186/s13098-018-0371-0. eCollection 2018. Nerve conduction study of the association between glycemic variability and diabetes neuropathy. Akaza M, Akaza I, Kanouchi T, Sasano T, Sumi Y, Yokota T.