Complications of diabetes could lead to more severe falls



As Januvia users continue to try and manage their diabetic symptoms, researchers keep trying to find new ways to fight back against this health epidemic.

As Januvia users continue to try and manage their diabetic symptoms, researchers keep trying to find new ways to fight back against this health epidemic. While implementing certain lifestyle changes such as exercising frequently and adhering to a nutritious diet may help stabilize your condition, there are always certain traits of the disease that are harder to shake off. One study explored how balance may be one of the overlooked health declines associated with diabetes.

In a collaborative study with researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester, colleagues presented evidence at the annual European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Austria that suggests diabetic patients are more susceptible to falling down stairs. The researchers specifically focused on how diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a complication of the disease that affects nerves in the limbs, are more likely to lose their balance when climbing up stairs, meaning the risk of falling is heightened.

One of the common symptoms of DPN is unsteadiness while walking, and while general decline in balance is often reported with the complication, little research has specifically focused on the risk of experiencing severe falls. To test this correlation, the researchers evaluated 22 diabetes patients with DPN and 40 diabetics without the complication to truly determine if those with the symptom had more difficulties with stair-walking.

Using a 3-D motion camera analysis system, the colleagues placed reflexive markers at specific locations on the body, so balance dynamics such as center-of-mass and center-of-pressure could be accurately measured in the subjects. The exercises that were introduced to the subjects involved repeatedly walking up and down a seven-step staircase. The 3-D motion cameras would then be able to appropriately capture and measure the amount of sway in each participant's step, as well as how wide their stance was while walking.

After reviewing the results, the DPN group showed higher maximum CoM-CoP separation than the other groups, meaning that those with DPN tended to sway more severely than the other subjects. In addition, DPN patients also had a wider walking stance on average, with their width being measured at nearly 7 inches while the other groups had an average stance width of nearly 6 inches.

The authors acknowledged that due to the evidence at hand, DPN patients appear to generally have a tougher time walking up stairs, therefore increasing the risk of falling.

"Diabetes patients with peripheral neuropathy display greater extremes in magnitude of medial-lateral sway during stair ascent and descent as well as displaying higher variability during stair ascent and descent," the authors stated in a press release. "This indicates that patients with DPN have difficulty regulating control of balance during this challenging task. A larger and more variable medial-lateral sway means that patients with DPN are more likely to lose control of balance and experience a fall during what is known to be an activity - using stairs - where the risk of falls is already very high."

Risk factors for DPN
Over the past few years, the number of diabetics with DPN has significantly escalated. According to The Neuropathy Association, there are now between 15-18 million Americans dealing with DPN. On top having diabetes, recognizing other risk factors early on may provide the difference between living with or without DPN. The Mayo Clinic lists four major risk factors accounting to most DPN cases, including poor blood sugar control, kidney damage, smoking and having diabetes for a longer period of time.

When it comes to managing diabetes, prescription medications such as Januvia continue to be the main source of relief. Remember, using a Canadian online pharmacy to buy Januvia is one of the quickest ways to refill your prescription.