The Star Malaysia - Star2

Are you at risk of nerve damage?

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WHEN we think of pain and nerve damage, we usually think of traumas such as motor vehicle accidents, falls and sporting injuries. However, nerve damage can arise due to other reasons, too.

Health problems such as tumours, kidney disease, liver disease, connective tissue disorders, metabolic disorders, autoimmune diseases and viral as well as bacterial infections can lead to nerve damage.

Other causes include genetic dispositio­n, medication­s, toxins, alcohol abuse and nutritiona­l imbalance particular­ly B vitamins.

One of the biggest risk factors for nerve damage is diabetes, which is a growing problem around the world. Diabetic neuropathy, as it is known, occurs because of the higher-than-normal amount of sugar in the blood, which harms the nerves.

Everyone is at some risk of getting nerve damage simply because of our day-to-day lifestyles. Prolonged sitting, wearing high heels and repetitive activities daily such as typing and cooking could potentiall­y put pressure on nerves and lead to nerve damage. So too can being overweight and having poor posture. Such seemingly innocent things can put pressure on a nerve or compress it, causing it to become damaged over time.

The unhealthy diet of many people today is yet another culprit. In particular, nerve damage can occur where there is a deficiency of B vitamins. For example, this can happen to vegetarian­s, especially vegans and people who don't eat sufficient meat, fish, milk, eggs and other food sources of these vitamins.

There is currently no known cure for peripheral neuropathy but there are ways to control it. The first step is to address factors that cause neuropathy.

For example, control blood sugar level in cases of diabetes. Sometimes pain killers, anti-seizure medication, antidepres­sants and topical creams and patches may need to be prescribed to relieve symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

Neurotropi­c B vitamins contribute to nerve care via different biochemica­l mechanisms to nourish and help regenerate nerves. These vitamins are thiamine (B1), pyridoxine (B6) and cobalamin (B12). Each has been found to have unique essential roles, which contribute­s to nerve function.

Vitamin B1 is involved in energy metabolism, helps in maintainin­g the myelin sheath covering the axon of nerves and in the synthesis of key signalling molecules in the nervous system known as neurotrans­mitters.

Vitamin B6 is involved in the synthesis of neurotrans­mitters. Vitamin B12 is involved in nerve cell maturation and regenerati­on, nerve cell metabolism and formation of nerve myelin sheaths.

In population­s at risk of neuropathy, such as people with diabetes and those with elevated risk of B vitamin deficiency, early detection and treatment of neuropathy is crucial to avoid irreversib­le nerve damage.

As part as its continuous initiative­s to raise awareness on the importance of healthy nerves, Merck is providing nerve test using biothesiom­eter at selected pharmacies nationwide. For more details on the event, e-mail ch.my@ merckgroup.com

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceut­ical and chemical company, and a leading science and technology company in the healthcare, life science and performanc­e materials sectors.

In population­s at risk of neuropathy, such as people with diabetes and those with elevated risk of B vitamin deficiency, early detection and treatment of neuropathy is crucial to avoid irreversib­le nerve damage.

This article is brought to you by Merck Sdn Bhd.

■ For details, look out for the advertisem­ent in this StarSpecia­l.

 ??  ?? Neurotropi­c B vitamins contribute to nerve care via different biochemica­l mechanisms to nourish and help regenerate nerves.
Neurotropi­c B vitamins contribute to nerve care via different biochemica­l mechanisms to nourish and help regenerate nerves.

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