May 20, 2009

Triglycerides tied to diabetes nerve loss

Monitoring blood fat levels as closely as blood sugar may help stem diabetic neuropathy, U.S. researchers suggest.

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University in Michigan analyzed data from 427 diabetes patients with neuropathy -- tingling, numbness, burning and pain -- and found those with higher blood triglycerides were more likely to develop a worsening of nerve loss symptoms within the year.

These results set the stage for clinicians to be able to address lowering lipid counts with their diabetes patients with neuropathy as vigilantly as they pursue glucose control, Dr. Eva Feldman of the University of Michigan Medical School, who was the study's senior author, said in a statement.

Aggressive treatment can be very beneficial to patients in terms of their neuropathy.

Feldman says people can reduce blood triglyceride levels with the same measures that reduce cholesterol levels, such as avoiding harmful fats in the diet and exercising regularly.

The findings are published in the journal Diabetes.