Does sugar cause nerve damage?
Although the exact causes are unknown, high blood sugar may contribute to diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Blood sugar levels that are hard to manage increase the risk of nerve damage. Long-term, elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream (higher than 130 mg/dL before eating; higher than 180 mg/dL after eating) result in chemical modifications in nerves that hinder their capacity to relay signals, inflicting harm on the blood vessels that transport oxygen and nutrients to nerves.
Who is at risk for nerve damage caused by too much sugar?
Individuals who have poor blood circulation, struggle to regulate their blood sugar levels or have high blood sugar levels are more vulnerable to various complications, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, eye problems and nerve damage.
How to manage your blood sugar levels
To manage your blood sugar levels, you should:
- Consume a nutritious diet that primarily consists of high-fiber or whole-grain foods, along with vegetables, fruits, low-fat or nonfat dairy products and lean sources of protein such as boneless chicken breast, fish and turkey.
- Engage in consistent physical activity. Exercise can help keep blood sugar levels down by increasing insulin sensitivity, which means less insulin will need to be taken each day.
- Monitor your blood sugar according to instructions and document your readings to determine how your blood sugar levels are influenced by particular foods and activities.
- Follow your provider’s directions for taking oral or injectable medications.
Tips to prevent or delay nerve damage from too much sugar
The most effective approach to prevent or postpone nerve damage is to maintain your blood sugar levels within your target range. To alleviate nerve pain and discomfort, it’s advisable to steer clear of high-sugar foods like sugary snacks, desserts and processed foods such as canned fruit, ketchup, chips, protein bars and soda, as sugar can exacerbate these symptoms. Even fresh fruit can cause inflammation and pain for those suffering from diabetic nerve damage.
Additionally, you can:
- Maintain your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg (or the target set by your doctor).
- Get enough sleep as carb-cravings tend to increase with sleep deprivation.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Limit or abstain from alcohol consumption.
- Quit smoking or refrain from starting.
When to see a doctor
If the tingling in your feet persists for a long period of time or is accompanied by pain, see your doctor.
WinSanTor is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of treatments for peripheral neuropathies. We believe in creating a solution that works and brings relief to millions who are struggling with this disease. Learn more about our company, our drug and subscribe to our newsletter.
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