Karen Bishop, RDN
Registered Dietitian/Holistic Nutritionist

DIABETES COMPLICATIONS

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is damage to nerves in the body that occurs due to high blood glucose levels from diabetes.  Peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves of the toes, feet, legs, hands and arms.   
Autonomic neuropathy affects the heart and blood vessels, digestive system, urinary tract, sweat glands, eyes and lungs.  Proximal neuropathy affects the thighs, hips, buttocks and legs.  Focal neuropathy affects the eyes, facial muscles, ears, pelvis and lower back, chest, abdomen, thighs, legs and feet.

Common symptoms of peripheral neuropathy: Burning, throbbing or painful tingling in hands or feet.

As a holistic nutritionist the nutritional therapy I provide for diabetic neuropathy involves:

  • Helping patients achieve and maintain excellent blood glucose control.
  • Optimizing nitric oxide production by the blood vessels.
  • Encouraging the use of alkaline, ionized water.
  • Correcting essential fatty acid deficiencies.
  • Normalizing homocysteine levels (a protein in the blood that, which elevated, increases risk of vascular disease.)
  • Recommendations for nutraceuticals to aid nerve repair.


Diabetic Retinopathy
       
Diabetic Retinopathy is damage to the retina caused by complications of diabetes mellitus, which can eventually lead to blindness.

Nutritional therapy I provide for diabetic retinopathy involves:

  • Helping patients achieve and maintain maintain excellent blood glucose control.
  • Correcting essential fatty acid deficiencies which increase risk factors of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Recommending antioxidants shown to decrease oxidative stress in the eye.
  • Encouraging the use of alkaline, ionized water.


Gastroporesis

Gastroporesis is a condition that reduces the ability of the stomach to empty its contents, but there is no blockage. Symptoms include abdominal distention, hypoglycemia (in people with diabetes), nausea, premature sensation of fullness after meals, vomiting and unintentional weight loss. Gastroparesis is a common complication of diabetes. Diabetes can damage the autonomic nervous system if blood glucose levels remain high over a long period of time.  High blood glucose levels cause chemical changes in nerves and damage blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves.  The exact nature of the cause of gastroporesis is not completely understood but it may be caused by a disruption of nerve signals to the stomach.

Risk factors for gastroporesis:

  • Diabetes
  • Post-viral syndromes
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Gastrectomy (surgery on the stomach) or surgically affecting the vagus nerve
  • Medications, particularly anti-cholinergics and narcotics (drugs that slow contractions in the intestine)
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (rarely)
  • Smooth muscle disorders such as amyloidosis and scleroderma (systemic sclerosis)
  • Nervous system diseases, including abdominal migraine and Parkinson's disease
  • Metabolic disorders, including hypothyroidism

Complications of gastroporesis include bacterial overgrowth due to the extended gastric emptying time and the risk of obstructions (between the stomach and intestines) which may form from hardened food.

As a holistic nutritionist, the nutritional therapy I provide for gastroporesis involves:

  • Helping patients achieve and maintain excellent blood glucose control.
  • Correcting nutrient deficiencies from fluid and nutrient loss as a result of nausea, chronic vomiting and/or the inability to consume adequate quantities of nutrient-dense foods.
  • Encouraging the use of alkaline, ionized water.
  • Enhancing gastric emptying: Some nutrients increase activity of the parasympathetic nervous system branch and others oppose it.  An important goal is to emphasize nutrients which improve activity of the parasympathetic nervous system.
  •  Utilizing nutraceuticals to aid in nerve repair.
  •  Utilizing oral stem cell stimulators to aid in nerve repair.

 

 

 

 

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