The electrifying complication of high blood sugar
When you tell someone that you're diabetic, they probably know enough about the disease to not offer you a piece of birthday cake.
But there's something else that people with diabetes struggle with that gets far less attention: wounds that just won't heal.
Diabetics and doctors alike have been struggling to figure out what to do about these wounds so that diabetics can keep all the body parts they were born with -- and avoid painful surgical procedures that cut out infected flesh or remove the limb altogether.
They've even resorted to using so-called "larval therapy" (translation: hungry, maggots), which effectively gobble up all the bad stuff -- but they don't do a thing about the root cause of the wounds that won't heal.
And that's because we haven't known WHY they won't heal.
But a new study on mice out of UC Davis gives us our first clue as to what's causing the problem in humans, and correcting it could mend wounds and save limbs in humans with diabetes.
As it turns out, the electric currents going into the wounded tissue may be impaired!
Researchersexamined the healing process for injuries of the cornea in diabetic mice and found that the electric currents responsible for healing most healthy eyes in less than 48 hours were severely diminished.
And the currents were weakened whether the mice's diabetes was genetic, drug-induced, or as a result of a poor diet.
You may not think of the human body as surging with electrical currents, but it actually is. Your brain and nervous system are full of them!
For example, the vagus nerve carries electrical impulses from your gut all the way deep inside your brain to the places responsible for basic emotions like anxiety or happiness.
And many therapies that use electrodes and electrical shock have been shown to treat a number of conditions (including erectile dysfunction) and relieve pain without drugs.
High levels of glucose, however, can inhibit the body's response to electrical currents. And that's when things that are supposed to happen -- like the healing of common wounds -- simply don't.
Now, there's no approved treatment yet to zap your wounds into submission, but maybe something like that will offer a welcome alternative to surgery sometime in the future.
But if you ask me, the best thing to do is don't become diabetic in the first place. Type 2 diabetes is entirely preventable -- and all you have to do is make simple lifestyle changes.
The Paleo diet omits refined sugars and processed foods, so it can get you on the right track, keep you at a healthier weight, and even reduce insulin resistance.
And be sure to get enough rest. Poor sleep can throw off your blood sugar levels not only because of the bad food decisions you're inclined to make after a night of tossing and turning, but also because of the increases in the levels of cortisol, the "stress hormone."
Can electric fields speed wound healing for diabetics?
Maggot Therapy, Used For Treating Type 2 Diabetes Complications And Infections, Is Seeing A Renaissance