According to researchers, sodium that is ingested generally through sodium chloride or salt may increase latent autoimmune diabetes and type 2 diabetes risk in adults. Type 2 diabetes is contracted by 95% of cases diagnosed. It characterizes abnormal blood sugar levels. Sodium and diabetes are most certainly linked.
How can Sodium Increase your Risk of Diabetes?
Senior and middle aged people are found to contract this diabetes type mostly. LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults) is another metabolic condition which often is misdiagnosed as type-2 diabetes. Later it appears in adulthood.
LADA is considered to be a disease that progresses very slowly and initially insulin treatment will not be necessary. Leading researchers can found to find out the impact that intake of sodium has upon LADA and type 2 diabetes risks.
Every Extra Gram Intake of Sodium Enhances Risk
Researches which have already been conducted have suggested that regular intake of sodium might increase significantly the risks to contract type 2 diabetes. The reason cited for the same is because sodium tends to impact greatly insulin resistance. At the same time, excess salt intake also causes gaining in body weight and hypertension. However, researches are yet to be conducted on the impact caused by intake of sodium on LADA risks.
The experts state that with LADA having autoimmune components, the diet comprising of high amounts of salt might only accelerate autoimmunity. It might also play a significant role in LADA pathogenesis (development of the disease). Unfortunately, there is found limited data on relationship between type 2 diabetes risk and sodium intake.
The experts analyzed data for Type 2 diabetes and LADA and went through data of huge number of people diagnosed with these diseases. The analysis results were then compared with findings availed from healthy group of people.
There were also used questionnaires to gather information pertaining to the daily diets of the participants. The team used this accumulated data to calculate the regular sodium, nutrient and caloric consumption of each and every participant. Genetic risk factors pertaining to diabetes were also taken into consideration.
The participants got split into ‘other’ and ‘high risk’ categories, which again depended upon their genetic profile. Moreover, confounding variables like BMI (Body Mass Index), gender, age, alcohol intake, physical activity levels and smoking was taken into account.
The result obtained was every additional gram of sodium intake (2.5 gms) per day was associated with 43% higher risk to contract type 2 diabetes. Again for LADA, the result obtained for every additional gram of sodium intake led to an increase of 73% to develop the condition.
The participants were then divided into 3 sub-groups depending upon their intake of sodium amounts. The categories were ‘low consumption’ (2.4 – 6 gms of sodium daily), ‘medium consumption’ (2.4 – 3.15 or around 7.9 gms of sodium daily) and ‘high consumption’ (3.15+ gms or over 7.9 gms of sodium daily).
The research results clearly showed that people belonging to the ‘high sodium consumption’ category were found to face 58% higher risks to contract type 2 diabetes, when compared to those in the ‘low sodium consumption’ group.
Again, those having high diabetes genetic risk and had daily high consumption of sodium intake were found to develop 4 times higher chances to contract LADA when compared to people in the ‘low sodium consumption’ category.
Check Out the Video Below for More about Sodium & Diabetes
Interaction Between Diet & Genetics
Based upon the above findings, researchers are now able to confirm a clear relationship between type 2 diabetes and sodium intake. They also conclude that high intake of sodium (salt) can prove to be risky for LADA. This is more so among high risk human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genotype carriers. They are rather the ones who already are found to carry significant genetic diabetes risks.
But a major limitation was noticed in the study, as the above conducted research was based upon questionnaires. There are chances of the participants to mis-remember few relevant details, thereby recalling bias. This in turn might have resulted in underestimation of sodium intake effects on type 2 diabetes risks and LADA.
According to the researchers, the main limitation is cited to be the retrospective design which could lead to recalling bias. Hence, to reduce such potential bias, questionnaire were given to patients being close to diagnosis. Clear instructions were also given to report their lifestyle/dietary habits prior to the diagnosis.
But still, it is not possible to rule out the recall bias. In case, it occurred, then it may result in underestimation of risk and not an overestimation of the results.
Further investigation conducted pertaining to interaction between genetic factors and diet with regards to diabetes can help reveal the different pathways to tackle this disease and to prevent it from occurring.
The researchers also revealed their interest to evaluate the different effects that might occur on reducing salt intake to prevent both types of diabetes.
Diabetic neuropathy is considered to be a nerve damage which takes place if you have contracted diabetes. Nerves all over your body may also get injured due to glucose (high blood sugar). Diabetic neuropathy is said to damage the nerves present in your feet and legs.
Diabetic neuropathy symptoms might range from numbness and pain felt in feet and legs to problems faced in the digestive system, heart, blood vessels and urinary tract. This again depends upon the affected nerves.
Some might show mild symptoms, while for others, it can be disabling and painful. It is stated to involve serious complication and is common. Healthy lifestyle and stringent control over blood sugar can slow down its progress or prevent it.
Symptoms of Neuropathy
Four major types are known to occur. You may have contracted one or may be more than a single neuropathy type. Symptoms will depend upon the nerves affected and type contracted. Symptoms generally develop gradually. Until there is experienced considerable nerve damage, you may not notice the problem.
Your bladder, heart, intestines, stomach, eyes and sex organs are controlled by autonomic nervous system. Diabetes might also affect nerves in these areas, thereby causing the following:
- Bladder issues, including urinary incontinence, retention or tract infections.
- Lack of awareness of having low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia unawareness)
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Gastroparesis (slow stomach emptying) causing vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite and bloating.
- Uncontrolled diarrhea, constipation or even both.
- Problems faced with controlling body temperature
- Decreased or increased sweating
- Enhanced heart rate even during rest
- Changes as to how eyes make adjustments to dark from light.
- Erectile dysfunction
- Blood pressure experiencing sharp drops after standing or sitting, causing you to feel lightheaded or to faint.
- Reduced sexual response
- Vaginal dryness
It is stated to be a common type that affects the legs and feet first and then arms and hands. Its symptoms and signs only get worse at night and include the following:
- Reflex loss, mostly in ankle region
- Muscle weakness
- Enhanced sensitivity towards touch – for many, even the bedsheet’s weight can be painful.
- Cramps or pains
- Burning or tingling sensation
- Reduced ability in feeling pain, numbness or temperature changes
- Serious foot issues like infections, ulcers, joint and bone pain
- Loss of coordination and balance
It is also referred to as focal neuropathy and may cause damage to any particular nerve in torso, leg or the face. Elderly people are likely to suffer the most. It occurs suddenly and may cause severe pain. But long term problems are not witnessed.
Even if treatment is not provided for weeks or months, the symptoms are still found to go away. However, your specific symptoms and signs will depend upon the nerve area involved. Pain may emerge in the following areas:
- Foot or shin
- Thigh front
- Pelvis or lower back
- Abdomen or chest
Nerve problems might also be caused in face and eyes, thereby causing the following:
- Bell’s palsy
- Severe aching just behind an eye
- Double vision
- Difficulty in focusing
At times, this ailment may occur due to nerve compression. A common compression type is carpal tunnel syndrome faced by those with diabetes. They may experience tingling or numbness in their fingers or hand, except the little finger. Also, weakness may be felt in the hands causing things to drop down.
Diabetic Amyotrophic (Radiculoplexus Naturopathy)
It affects nerves located in the legs, buttocks, hips or the thighs. People suffering from type 2 diabetes as well as elderly people are commonly affected with this type. It is also referred to as proximal neuropathy, femoral neuropathy or amyotrophy.
The symptoms experienced are generally on a particular side, with chances to spread to remaining parts of the body. You might develop the following:
- Weight loss
- If abdomen gets affected, then swelling in the region
- Difficulty in trying to stand up from sitting position
- Weak & shrinking thigh muscles
- Severe pain experienced in thigh, hip or buttock
Sodium and diabetes are connected because too much sodium can lead to diabetes, not to mention leading to high blood pressure as well. It’s important to monitor your intake of sodium and watch your blood sugars. Don’t let diabetes sneak up on you and get you. Be proactive and take care of your health!