Saturday, October 2, 2010

Painful Variations in Diabetic Neuropathy: Insulin Neuritis

One of the most cruel complications of type 2 diabetes is a painful variation in diabetic neuropathy called insulin neuritis. This is a form of neuropathy that only strikes after high blood sugars are brought down to lower levels.

In this condition, the nerves "wake up" as blood sugar levels improve, and the nerves that conduct pain signals recover before the nerves that "turn off" pain signals. Much like fibromyalgia, this form of diabetic neuropathy can cause severe pain night or day, but especially at night.

For many type 2 diabetics, the pain of insulin neuritis leads them to overeat to bring their blood sugar levels up so that their nerves go numb. It's a much better idea, however, to get medical treatment. The drugs used to treat insulin neuritis cost less than $5 a month even without medical insurance, and they have the side effect of treating depression.

Alpha-lipoic acid and benfothiamine may help insulin neuritis. As you manage your diabetes so that your body makes more of its own insulin, symptoms will greatly decrease.

Selected References:

Kamiya H, Zhang W, Ekberg K, Wahren J, Sima AA. C-Peptide reverses nociceptive neuropathy in type 1 diabetes. Diabetes. 2006 Dec;55(12):3581-7.

Song KB, Cho SJ, Minn YK, Kwon KH, Park MK. A case of insulin neuritis that developed in a patient under regular insulin treatment on increasing the insulin dose. Insulin neuritis: is it a misnomer? J Neurol. 2009 Feb;256(2):274-5. Epub 2009 Feb 26.

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