Exercise to Treat Diabetic Neuropathy

Recent publication in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia has revealed that exercising regularly helps reduce painful neuropathy caused due to diabetes. The research was conducted by scientists at the China Medical University, Taiwan. Studies on heat shock proteins Hsp 72 has revealed that neuropathy is related to this protein and exercise helps increase the expression of this substance in the body thus slowing the development of the condition.

Study on Rats Exercise to Treat Diabetic Neuropathy

Neuropathy is a painful condition where nerve damage occurs from diabetes. More than half of diabetic patients suffer from diabetic neuropathy with symptoms such as numbness, tingling sensation and pain in the legs and arms. Lead author of the paper Dr. Yu-Wen Chen and his team have studied the effects of exercise on neuropathy, in rat models.

A group of mice were induced with diabetes and some of them were made to do treadmill exercises, while the others did not exercise. The latter group showed signs of neuropathic pain and showed pain. However, those who were doing exercises showed delayed progress of the pain. The pain was measured through tactile and thermal hypersensitivity of the rats.

Role of Heat Shock Proteins

Immunological analysis has showed that Hsp 72, a protective protein is produced in the nerve tissues of diabetic rats that have been made to exercise. The Hsp 72 is a heat shock protein which protects against cellular damage due to stress.  It also proves that Hsp 72 can suppress blood sugar levels as well, and hence reduce the development of neuropathy in diabetics.

Exercise is a new non-drug alternative to treating neuropathy and hence very useful for patients who are mobile and willing to give exercise a try.