Link Between Triglycerides and Diabetic Nerve Damage

Link Between Triglycerides and Diabetic Nerve Damage: Triglycerides have recently been implicated as a primary factor in nerve damage among diabetics. This has led some in the medical community to suggest that Triglycerides should be monitored in much the same way glucose levels are.

FreeMD describes Triglycerides as, “Fats found throughout the body and the bloodstream. Triglycerides are a storage form of fat that provide energy for the body. Triglyceride is a form of fat that is made by the liver and intestines. Triglycerides are also present in food.”

According to a report in the upcoming journal, Diabetes, it is suggested that, “Diabetic neuropathy affects around 60 percent of the 23 million people in the United States who have diabetes. It is a complication in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.”

A study by the University of Michigan and Wayne State University suggests a link between high Triglycerides and neuropathy. Coauthor of the study Kelli A. Sullivan, Ph.D. said, “In our study, elevated serum triglycerides were the most accurate at predicting nerve fiber loss, compared to all other measures.” reported, “The study included 427 diabetes patients with neuropathy. Those with elevated levels of triglycerides were significantly more likely to experience worsening neuropathy over one year. Other factors, including blood glucose levels, weren’t significant.”

What this report seems to suggest is blood glucose levels are important in the development of diabetes, but it is blood fat in the form of Triglycerides that may be the predominant factor in nerve damage as a secondary effect of diabetes. suggests, “Diabetic neuropathy affects peripheral nerves — those that are outside of the brain and spinal cord, such as nerves in the arms, legs, hands, and feet. Some elderly diabetics with neuropathy also develop a condition called diabetic myopathy (muscle wasting), in which the small muscles of the foot, as well as some other muscles, become thinner and weaker.”

Until now most in the field of medical science believed that blood glucose levels had everything to do with neuropathy, but this report places the blame directly on elevated Triglycerides.

Interestingly the primary means of controlling Triglycerides is through diet and exercise. This is the same process for better control of blood glucose. What this may mean is that approaching managed care seriously and in the same way may effectively treat both elevated blood glucose and Triglycerides.

In most cases Triglycerides are screened in virtually all blood tests administered among patients. It is possible to develop a home blood test that monitors both blood glucose and Triglycerides. This information can help diabetics form an action plan that assists them in effectively managing their own care.

The numbness associated with neuropathy has a very profound effect on diabetic patients who can’t always tell when medical attention is required because they don’t always feel pain in the same way other patients might. Long-term neuropathy can actually cause its own type of pain that requires daily and planned management.

According to Innovations Report, “The new finding adds to an emerging picture of the close connections between cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Elevated triglycerides are one of the most common features of the lipid disorders found in patients with type 2 diabetes, by far the most common form of diabetes.”

Rodica Pop-Busui, M.D., Ph.D., one of the study’s authors concluded by saying, “We demonstrated that the same lipid particles that contribute to the progression of atherosclerosis are also very important players in peripheral nerve fiber loss.”