Tag Archives: diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy Fast Facts

Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder that can be caused by poorly-controlled diabetes (chronically elevated or fluctuating blood sugar levels). Let’s look at some of the facts:

  • The most common form of neuropathy in diabetics is peripheral neuropathy which involves the extremities, most commonly the feet. The condition may result in pain, numbness, burning sensation, tingling or mobility impairment.
  • The loss on sensation can lead to falling or accidents whereby the lower extremities are hurt which may go unnoticed.
  • Treatment for peripheral neuropathy involves medications that prevent further damage and lower blood sugar levels, regular checkups in a foot clinic to prevent infections, taking certain types of analgesics, wearing special stockings and lifestyle changes like slowly increasing exercise and wearing specially fitted shoes.
  • Aside from peripheral neuropathy, other types of neuropathy experienced by diabetics are:
    1. Diabetic autonomic neuropathy, which involves the digestive system, urinary tract, genitals and blood vessels.

    2. Diabetic proximal neuropathy, which usually affects one part of the body, causing pain and weakness.

    3. Diabetic focal neuropathy can cause problems with the nerves in the head, torso or legs. It is a very fast striking form, but can improve more quickly as well.

  • Symptoms of these types of neuropathies include: erectile dysfunction, abnormal sweating, urinary or bowel problems and upper stomach symptoms like trouble keeping food down.
  • The prognosis of diabetic neuropathy can be good if the underlying condition becomes better controlled, if not there may continue to be more loss of sensation and tissue damage which could ultimately lead to more complications down the line.
  • Nearly half of all diabetics will develop some degree of at least one of the 4 forms of diabetic neuropathy at some point in their lifetime.
  • Excess glucose begins damaging the walls of blood vessels that assist the nerves, it also wears away at the fragile coating surrounding these nerves causing interrupted signals from the brain and loss of sensation or painful sensations.
  • The best way to prevent diabetic neuropathy if you are a diabetic is to ensure your sugars are well controlled and on target. You should also attend regular checkups so your doctor can evaluate your progress and determine if any medication changes are necessary to help keep your sugars controlled.

That concludes our look at diabetic neuropathy, stay tuned for facts about diabetic retinopathy next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!



8 Care Tips for Healthy Feet

Sometimes we take our tootsies for granted, but it is important not to neglect your feet. We spend much of our lives walking around on them, so it is a good idea to ensure they are in tiptop shape. These tips are especially important to heed if you are diabetic.

  1. Wash often and dry thoroughly – clean tootsies will likely have less issues, especially when it comes to skin infections. However, it is important to dry them well because damp feet encourage fungi and bacteria to flourish and can lead to issues like athlete’s foot. Be sure to change your socks frequently to keep your feet fresh and odor-free.
  2. Support your arches – It is of utmost importance to buy quality footwear that has good arch support so your arch doesn’t start to fall. If you have fallen arches or foot issues, you should visit a podiatrist to get fitted for custom orthotics and wear them all the time. Avoid high heels.
  3. Limit flipflop time – Typical flat flipflops are extremely bad for your feet as they are completely flat and offer no arch support (Birkenstock’s are much better). They may also expose your feet to sharp objects or harmful bacteria. Try to limit your time in flipflops to the beach or public showers, where they may protect your feet from infections like athlete’s foot or plantar warts.
  4. Take care of callouses – callouses can creep up on you and they may be hard to treat once they are very thick. It is a good idea to take care of callouses a couple times a week to stay on top of them. Once they become thick, they can become inflamed and crack which can be very painful.
  5. Take good care of your nails – Trim your toenails regularly, but be careful not to cut into the sides of the nail or cut too far down as this can cause an ingrown nail, a very painful foot condition. Keeping your nails trimmed will help keep your feet clean and help avoid nail problems.
  6. Pamper those paws – give yourself a nice foot rub with some moisturizer after a shower or bath. This will not only help keep your skin hydrated and healthy, but will also help lower your stress level and make you feel good. Be careful not to apply moisturizer between your toes as that can encourage growth of bacteria.
  7. Keep moving – To avoid circulation problems or venous issues, be sure to get enough exercise. If you can’t get much exercise, at least be sure to move your feet regularly: stretch them out and move your feet around a few times daily to keep the blood flowing well. Try not to cross your legs or sit for long periods of time either. As with many on this list, this tip is especially relevant to diabetics, as they often have more circulation problems than those who do not have the disease.

  8. Be on the lookout for trouble – Perform a regular foot check to catch any issues that may be developing such as bunions, sores, slow-healing wounds, cracks, swelling, redness or blisters. Any of these issues can be cause for a doctor or podiatrist visit as some of them may be signs of diabetic neuropathy.

That concludes our foot care tips, feel free to contact our board certified physicians who are standing by 24/7/365 if you need any medical advice. Thanks for visiting DocChat!