Blood sugar level is regularly monitored in diabetics, but new research has suggested the level of triglycerides may also need to come under closer scrutiny to protect against nerve loss.
Triglycerides are fats which are a known cardiovascular disease risk factor, and their level can be easily measured with available tests.
Scientists from the University of Michigan and Wayne State University analyzed data from 427 diabetes patients with neuropathy, a condition in which nerves are damaged or lost with resulting numbness, tingling and pain in the extremities.
They found that patients with elevated levels of triglycerides were significantly more likely to experience worsening neuropathy over a period of one year.
Dr. Eva L. Feldman, senior author of the study and the Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology at the U-M Medical School says given the ease of testing for triglyceride level, patients can now take pro-active steps to reduce the risk of serious health complications.
The researchers add that reducing blood triglyceride levels can be done the same way cholesterol is controlled through healthy diet that is low in harmful fats and regular exercise.