Most people think of metabolism as the process of digesting food into the nutrients needed to produce energy and support your health. And that’s definitely accurate.
But metabolism also has a broader meaning. It refers to everything that happens in your body to keep you alive, from healing tissues and producing proteins, to keeping nerves and muscles functioning.
Problems with your metabolism — metabolic disorders — are the top causes of neuropathy. As neuropathy specialists, our experienced team at iMed Regeneration Center can help you overcome nerve damage, no matter the underlying cause, using integrative therapies designed to promote nerve healing.
Metabolic disorders develop when some part of your metabolism fails. You may lack an enzyme or vitamin needed to make a chemical reaction work. Or you could have a disease affecting the organs involved in metabolism, like your pancreas, endocrine glands, and liver.
Problems with your metabolism may cause abnormally high levels of nutrients (making them toxic) or a nutrient deficiency. Both extremes lead to serious health conditions.
These are a few examples of metabolic disorders:
Diabetes, the most common metabolic disorder, develops when your body doesn’t have or can’t use insulin. When your blood sugar rises (after eating carbohydrates), the pancreas releases insulin to remove the excess sugar.
Insulin lowers blood sugar by escorting it into cells that use it for energy. When you have diabetes, the sugar stays in your bloodstream, causing dangerous high blood sugar while also depriving cells of the sugar they need for metabolism.
Mitochondria are tiny structures inside every cell that produce energy. If you have a mitochondrial disease, your body can’t produce enough energy, leading to many possible health problems, including neuropathy.
You can inherit a genetic defect that causes mitochondrial problems or you may have a health condition that affects the mitochondria. For example, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer can all lead to mitochondrial disorders.
This disorder occurs when you’re missing the enzyme needed to metabolize ammonia, a waste product left over from breaking down proteins. As a result, toxic ammonia builds up in your blood.
Neuropathy generally refers to nerve damage anywhere in your body. But the term is typically used to mean peripheral neuropathy, which is damage to any nerve outside your brain and spinal cord.
Peripheral neuropathy has many possible causes, such as:
Of all the possible causes, metabolic disorders are the most common.
All the metabolic conditions listed above, and many others not on the list, can damage your peripheral nerves. But once again, diabetes is at the top of the list, following by nutritional deficiencies:
High blood sugar damages your nerves, beginning with the nerves in your feet. The first symptoms of diabetic neuropathy include tingling, prickling, burning, and pain.
As the nerve damage progresses, you end up losing feeling in your feet. This is a dangerous stage because you won’t feel cuts, calluses, or other problems that develop on your feet.
Since diabetes also damages blood vessels, foot wounds can’t heal. Instead, they quickly turn into dangerous diabetic foot ulcers.
Several B vitamins are essential for keeping your nervous system in good working order, but a vitamin B12 deficiency is most likely to cause neuropathy.
You must have vitamin B12 to produce and maintain the myelin sheath. The sheath surrounds part of the nerve, where it’s vital for conducting electrical signals. Vitamin B12 also supports regeneration after the nerve is damaged.
At iMed Regeneration Center, we offer comprehensive care for neuropathy. Our multifaceted treatments include nutritional counseling to improve metabolic disorders and physical rehabilitation, where we use customized exercises to strengthen nerves and boost blood flow.
We also specialize in cutting-edge therapies that promote nerve healing, such as nerve stimulation, light therapy, and vibration therapy.
If you have signs of neuropathy, don’t wait to get help. Call our Colorado Springs, Colorado, center today or book an appointment online.