What is diabetic neuropathy?

What is diabetic neuropathy

If you’ve complained to your doctor about prickling in your fingers and numbness or cold in your feet, you might have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, a condition involving damage to the peripheral nervous system, the nerves running from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.

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. Diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet. Depending on the affected nerves, symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can range from pain and numbness in your legs and feet to problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels, and heart. Some people have mild symptoms. But for others, diabetic neuropathy can be quite painful and disabling.

Diabetic neuropathy is a common and severe complication of diabetes. But you can often prevent diabetic neuropathy or slow its progress with tight blood sugar control and a healthy lifestyle. There are four main types of diabetic neuropathy. You can have one or more than one type of neuropathy. Your symptoms will depend on the type you have and which nerves are affected. Usually, symptoms develop gradually. You may not notice anything wrong until considerable nerve damage has occurred.

The exact cause likely differs for each type of neuropathy. Researchers think that over time, uncontrolled high blood sugar damages nerves and interferes with their ability to send signals, leading to diabetic neuropathy. High blood sugar also weakens the walls of the small blood vessels (capillaries) that supply the nerves with oxygen and nutrients.

Diabetic neuropathy can cause some severe complications, including loss of a toe, foot, or leg. Nerve damage can make you lose feeling in your feet. Foot sores and cuts may silently become severely infected or turn into ulcers. Even minor foot sores that don’t heal can turn into ulcers.

Nerve damage can cause a joint to deteriorate, causing a condition called Charcot’s joint. It usually occurs in the small joints in the feet. Symptoms include loss of sensation and joint swelling, instability, and sometimes joint deformity. Prompt treatment can help you heal and prevent further joint damage.

If the nerves that control your bladder are damaged, you may be unable to empty your bladder fully. Bacteria can build up in the bladder and kidneys, causing urinary tract infections. Nerve damage can also affect your ability to feel when you need to urinate or to control the muscles that release urine, leading to leakage (incontinence)..

Damage to the nerves that control blood flow can affect your body’s ability to adjust blood pressure. It can cause a sharp decline in pressure when you stand after sitting (orthostatic hypotension), which may lead to dizziness and fainting.

If nerve damage strikes your digestive tract, you can have constipation or diarrhea, or bouts of both. Diabetes-related nerve damage can lead to gastroparesis, a condition in which the stomach empties too slowly or not at all. It can interfere with digestion and severely affect blood sugar levels and nutrition. Signs and symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and bloating.

Nerve damage can disrupt how your sweat glands work and make it difficult for your body to control its temperature correctly. Some people with autonomic neuropathy have excessive sweating, particularly at night or while eating.

Understanding how to deal with neuropathy takes time, especially in advanced cases when the pain or numbness seems to dictate your life. Medications help, but even more important is attitude.

Diabetes is a slow killer! You need to manage it in every possible way. Share this video with your friends and social circle, especially show it to someone who is diabetic or connected to a diabetic person.

Until Next Time,

Team Doctor ASKY!


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