What Causes Diabetic Neuropathy? Is it Reversible?

Image showing acupuncture as a therapy for diabetic neuropathy

The exact cause of nerve damage (Diabetic neuropathy) is not clear. There are many factors that are known to contribute towards this condition, the most important being high blood sugar levels.

Causes include:

Reduced blood flow: Diabetes causes reduced blood vessel relaxation leading to impaired flow to nerves

Damage to nerve proteins: Depletion of myelin proteins which are important for nerve conduction. Glycosylation of structural nerve proteins leading to decreased nerve conduction

Oxidative stress: Increased production of oxygen free radicals producing oxidative stress and damage

-Accumulation of sorbitol and fructose in nerves.

Risk factors include poor blood sugar control, alcohol intake, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol levels, obesity, older age,family history, duration of diabetes

-Depending on the extent of damage and the function that is impaired due to nerve damage, it is sometimes possible to reverse or slow down the damage by medications and lifestyle changes.

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