TYPE 2 diabetes usually goes undetected until high blood sugar levels rear their ugly head. When this happens, the body often undergoes sinister changes and one sign can be seen in your thighs.
Type 2 diabetes is pernicious because it does not intrude on your daily life in the beginning. The mechanisms that give rise to diabetes – poor insulin production and the inability of cells to respond to insulin – rarely produce any outward signs. Over time, however, poor insulin uptake can be highly destructive.
This is because one of insulin’s most important roles is to regulate blood sugar.
Blood sugar is the main sugar found in blood – it is an important source of energy and provides nutrients to the body.
You can have too much of a good thing, however. High blood sugar, medically known as hyperglycemia, can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems.
Without the moderating effect of insulin, you are uniquely vulnerable to hyperglycemia and harmful effects.
In fact, the damage wrought by high blood sugar levels often draws attention to undiagnosed diabetes.
The symptoms are wide ranging but diabetic neuropathy often produces the most visible signs.
As Mayo Clinic explains, diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes.
High blood sugar (glucose) can injure nerves throughout your body and the type of neuropathy you have depends on the specific nerves damaged.
Proximal neuropathy, for example, often affects nerves in the thighs, hips, buttocks or legs. It can also affect the abdominal and chest area, explains Mayo Clinic.
“Symptoms are usually on one side of the body, but may spread to the other side,” says the health body.
This may take the form of eventual weak and shrinking thigh muscles, it says.
Research published in CI Insight has shed light on the specific mechanisms that cause this form of neuropathy.
Research led by Professor Wataru Ogawa at the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine demonstrated that a rise in blood sugar levels triggers the decline in muscle mass, and uncovered the important roles of two proteins in this phenomenon.
They found that the abundance of transcription factor KLF15 increased in skeletal muscle of diabetic mice, and mice that lack KLF15 specifically in muscle were resistant to diabetes-induced skeletal muscle mass decline.
These results indicate that diabetes-induced muscle loss is attributable to increased amounts of KLF15.
How to treat high blood sugar levels
Lifestyle changes are required to stabilise high blood sugar levels and mitigate the harm caused by the complication.
According to the NHS, a healthy diet and keeping active will help you manage your blood sugar level.
As the health body points out, there’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.
- Eat a wide range of foods – including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta
- Keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum
- Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day – do not skip meals
- Go easy on starchy foods such as pasta, however, as they are high in carbohydrates.
Carbohydrate is broken down into glucose relatively quickly and therefore has a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels than either fat or protein.