Vitamin B intake can prevent peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes
It was diabetes the seventh leading cause of deaths in the United States in 2019 based on 87,647 death certificates in which diabetes is listed as the leading cause of death, according to the American Diabetes Association. In 2019, 37.3 million Americans, or 11.3 percent of the population, had diabetes.
The latest research by the International Diabetic Union showed that one in four interviewed patients with diabetes stated that they did not receive adequate information about the disease. As a result, many patients failed to properly manage complications, which seriously interfered with their daily lives.
Diabetes causes peripheral neuropathy
Patients with diabetes are often unaware of the connection between peripheral neuropathy and diabetes. Therefore, they may misinterpret feelings of physical paralysis as part of aging. Since the symptoms of diabetes are not always visible in the early stages, by the time some patients seek medical help, the disease could be significantly advanced.
Endocrine and diabetes specialist Dr. Tsang Man-wo of United Christian Hospital points out that diabetes is the main cause of peripheral neuropathy. Nerve fibers in the surrounding nervous system are damaged, causing peripheral nerve injury or microvascular dysfunction due to elevated blood sugar.
Peripheral neuropathy can lead to multiple health risks, including loss of sensation, muscle atrophy, and tremors, increasing the risk of injury and making daily activities challenging. Diabetics are prone to other serious health conditions, such as skin ulcers and foot amputation caused by diabetes mellitus.
How to prevent peripheral neuropathy?
Tsang suggests that the best way to prevent lesions or further worsening of diabetes is to control blood sugar levels. In addition to blood sugar control, patients should maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels, avoid smoking and alcohol consumption, and exercise regularly.
Moreover, patients should take enough vitamins B1, B6 and B12 for more efficient maintenance of the health of blood vessels and the nervous system.
Vitamin B1 deficiency affects the heart and feet, damages the nerves and possibly causes beriberi, also known as thiamine deficiency. Vitamin B6 deficiency affects the blood and brain, signaling the transduction of the nervous system. Vitamin B12 deficiency affects blood and nervous system regeneration, or worse, causes scurvy, pernicious anemia, sensory loss and dementia.
Metformin is a common drug used to treat diabetes. However, higher doses and prolonged use, especially for three or more years, can affect the absorption of vitamin B12 in the intestines, resulting in peripheral neuralgia.
Tsang says that by increasing the intake of B vitamins specifically for the nervous system, such as B1, B6 and B12, the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can be alleviated and prevented.
The doctor suggests that whenever patients face numbness in the limbs, especially diabetics, they should not ignore the possibility of peripheral neuropathy and mistake it for arthritis or sciatica.