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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!