Type 2 Diabetic Patients Can Suffer Serious Nerve Damage By Reduced Cholesterol Levels
A new discovery by a research team from Heidelberg University in Germany reveals that lowering serum cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes is associated with diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN).
Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that occurs when an individual has diabetes. High blood sugar (glucose) can injure nerves throughout the body. Diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in the legs and feet.
Depending on the affected nerves, symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can range from pain and numbness in the legs and feet to problems with the digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart. Some people have mild symptoms. But for others, diabetic neuropathy can be quite painful and serious.
Dr Johann Jende and his colleagues assessed the association between serum cholesterol levels and peripheral nerve lesions in patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Patients having Diabetic Polyneuropathy(DPN) and those not having DPN were both included in the study.
One hundred participants (mean age, 64.6 years; 68 percent male) underwent magnetic resonance neurography of the right leg, as well as clinical, serologic, and electrophysiologic assessment.
The team found that the lipid equivalent lesion (LEL) load positively correlated with the nerve's mean cross-sectional area and the maximum length of a lesion. A negative association was noted between LEL load and total serum cholesterol level, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, nerve conduction velocities of the tibial and peroneal nerves, and nerve conduction amplitudes of the tibial and peroneal nerves.
According to Dr Johann in an exclusive interview with Thailand Medical News,"These discoveries may be important to emerging and existing therapies that promote an aggressive lowering of serum cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetic Type 2 patients need close monitoring in terms of their existing ailments and drug prescriptions and also constant check-ups to monitor their conditions.”
The findings of these studies were published in Jama Network Open journal recently.
Reference: Association of Serum Cholesterol Levels With Peripheral Nerve Damage in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes, JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(5):e194798. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.4798