Research shows a big cause of nerve damage in people with diabetes

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A recent study has highlighted a troubling link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of nerve damage, or neuropathy, in people with diabetes.

This finding is particularly relevant in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where a significant portion of the diabetic population is affected.

Neuropathy is a condition that leads to pain and muscle weakness and can get worse over time. It’s quite common among those with diabetes, affecting around half of such individuals in the UAE.

This is concerning because the UAE has a notably high rate of type 2 diabetes — 16.3%, which is almost double the worldwide average of 9.3%. Moreover, this figure is expected to rise to 21.4% by 2030.

The research was conducted by Dr. Bashair M. Mussa, an Associate Professor at the College of Medicine, University of Sharjah. Dr. Mussa and her team looked at the medical records of 600 Emirati patients from the University Hospital Sharjah.

They discovered that a significant number of these patients were suffering from neuropathy, which is characterized by worsening pain and muscle weakness.

What makes Dr. Mussa’s findings stand out is the connection she draws between neuropathy and a lack of vitamin D — a surprising discovery considering the UAE’s sunny environment.

Despite the abundant sunshine, which normally helps the body produce vitamin D, the extreme heat often discourages people from spending much time outside, leading to insufficient vitamin D levels.

The implications of this study are quite significant. Diabetic neuropathy not only affects individual health but also has serious societal impacts, including high rates of illness and death as well as economic costs.

The research emphasizes the potential role of vitamin D in preventing or reducing the severity of neuropathy among diabetics.

Interestingly, previous studies have shown that vitamin D supplements can improve symptoms of diabetic neuropathy in the short term.

This suggests that more extensive research, involving larger and more diverse groups of people, is needed to fully understand how vitamin D relates to neuropathy.

Given the high prevalence of both diabetes and neuropathy in the UAE, further investigation is crucial.

Future research should not only confirm the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and neuropathy but also explore how interventions like vitamin D supplementation might aid in managing or preventing this debilitating condition.

The findings of this study underscore the need for healthcare professionals and patients alike to consider vitamin D levels as a significant factor in the management and prevention of diabetic complications.

This could potentially lead to better health outcomes for those suffering from diabetes in regions like the UAE where the disease is increasingly common.

Dr. Mussa advocates for more comprehensive studies to delve deeper into the risk factors and preventive measures for diabetic neuropathy.

This ongoing research is essential in the fight against diabetes and its complications, and could lead to more effective treatments that improve the lives of those affected.

This study was detailed in the journal Cells, offering a new perspective on the challenges faced by diabetics in sunny, yet hot climates where exposure to natural sunlight is limited.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that pomace olive oil could help lower blood cholesterol, and honey could help control blood sugar.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies about Vitamin D that may reduce dangerous complications in diabetes and results showing plant-based protein foods may help reverse type 2 diabetes.

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