How does high glucose lead to neuropathy?

what you need to know

If you suffer from neuropathy, there is hope! Give our office a call today at (425) 686-4498 to schedule your initial consultation to learn more about how we can help your specific case.

Natural tips for managing Diabetes

How does high glucose lead to neuropathy?

If there is one condition that most people know about it is diabetes. Interesting, many people also know the dangers of diabetes, one being very drastic which is possible “foot amputation.” However, many do not know why this happens, how to prevent symptoms from getting that bad, or what can be done. Diabetes is a worldwide epidemic with an estimated 425 million people diagnosed with neuropathy as well as the frightening statistic that at least 50% of people with diabetes will develop diabetic neuropathy. How does diabetes lead to neuropathy? It all comes down to uncontrolled high blood glucose and its destruction of tissues and nerve functioning.

What is diabetes?

A simple definition of diabetes is elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels, over time, that leads to damage in many organs such as the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys. Normally, when we eat a meal, the food is broken down into glucose. This glucose enters the blood and makes its way to certain cells. However, glucose is not allowed to leave the blood (enter cells) without the help of insulin. As the blood glucose levels rise, insulin is produced and binds to the cells to allow glucose to leave the blood and enter cells so it can be used as energy. With diabetes, glucose is not able to travel to the cells either because of lack of insulin aka insulin resistance or that cells are not responding to the insulin signaling. This creates too much glucose in the blood which has been found to damage nerves so they cant communicate normally, as well as causing damage to organs and blood vessels, and leads to a lack of nutrients to key areas of your body. This is why controlling blood sugar levels and preventing insulin resistance is crucial for overall well-being, especially with those with diabetes. 

One of the best ways to predict diabetes is to measure HbA1c levels (a measurement of average blood glucose levels). The higher the HbA1c, the more likely you have or will develop diabetes and diabetic neuropathy. 

How can you control your blood sugar levels?

There are many ways to control blood sugar levels. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes your doctor may place you on certain medications like Metformin to help control blood sugar levels. Metformin helps your body lower blood sugar by improving how your body uses insulin. However, there are many things that can be done to prevent diabetes and even if you are in the pre-diabetic phase to help. Diet is key in helping to control blood sugar levels. Having a diet that is anti-inflammatory and avoiding the 4 F’s: Fried, fatty, fast, and fake foods is key! Also, choosing specific foods that are lower on the Glycemic Index scale will also help control blood sugar levels as well. In addition to dietary changes, certain lifestyle changes can also help. Exercise, even moderate exercise like daily walking for 30 minutes can help. Interestingly, in addition to diet and lifestyle changes, acupuncture has been found to be a safe and effective treatment to help control blood sugar and neuropathy.

How can acupuncture help?

There are numerous studies looking at the exact mechanisms of just how acupuncture can help glucose control, insulin resistance, and even diabetic neuropathy symptoms. In a recent study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, found that acupuncture could help modulate glucose levels, provide an anti-inflammatory effect, reduce pain, as well as help nerve dysfunction. 

Read more about how acupuncture can help neuropathy, in our previous post here.

If you suffer from neuropathy, there is hope! Give our office a call today at (425) 686-4498 to schedule your initial consultation to learn more about how we can help your specific case.

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She specializes in chronic and complex cases and commonly treats neuropathy, fibromyalgia, migraines, autoimmune, and infertility cases. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free  and Keep Calm and Zen Out available on Amazon.


Acupuncture and diabetic neuropathy:

Call or Schedule Now! (425) 686-4498

Call or Schedule Now!

(425) 686-4498

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc

  • Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
    Bastyr University
  • Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
    Bastyr University
  • Master’s Degree in Chemistry
    Northern Arizona University
Dr. Heintze Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Doctor

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