Neuropathy, diabetic

Other names: Diabetic neuropathy

DEFINITION

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have Diabetes. High blood sugar can injure nerve fibers throughout your body, but 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 extremities to problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels, and heart. Diabetic neuropathy is a common serious complication of Diabetes.

SYMPTOMS

There are four main types of Diabetic neuropathy:

  1. Peripheral neuropathy: Numbness, tingling, sharp pains, muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, balance issues, and foot problems.
  2. Autonomic neuropathy: Affects organs like the bladder, stomach, intestines, and eyes leading to various symptoms.
  3. Radiculoplexus neuropathy: Sudden severe pain in the hip or thigh along with muscle weakness.
  4. Mononeuropathy: Damage to a specific nerve causing symptoms based on the location.

CAUSES

Prolonged exposure to high blood sugar damages nerve fibers in Diabetic neuropathy. Other factors include inflammation in nerves due to autoimmune response, genetic factors, smoking, and alcohol abuse.

RISK FACTORS

Factors increasing the risk of nerve damage in Diabetes include poor blood sugar control, duration of Diabetes, kidney disease, being overweight, and smoking.

COMPLICATIONS

Complications of Diabetic neuropathy include loss of limb due to infections or ulcers, Charcot joint deterioration, urinary tract issues, hypoglycemia unawareness, low blood pressure, digestive problems, sexual dysfunction among others.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Before your appointment for Diabetes complications like neuropathy:

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosis is based on symptoms and tests like filament test for touch sensitivity and nerve conduction studies. Comprehensive foot exams are recommended annually for people with Diabetes.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment focuses on slowing disease progression through blood sugar control and relieving pain with medications like anti-seizure drugs or antidepressants. Managing complications like urinary problems or sexual dysfunction is essential.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

Preventive measures include maintaining blood sugar control within target range consistently and proper foot care to avoid complications like ulcers.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

Alternative treatments such as capsaicin cream for pain relief or acupuncture may help manage symptoms of Diabetic neuropathy.

COPING AND SUPPORT

Living with Diabetic neuropathy can be challenging; seek support from counselors or support groups for encouragement and advice on managing the condition.


QUESTIONS

  1. What is diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that occurs in individuals with Diabetes due to prolonged exposure to high blood sugar levels.

  1. What are the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy?

Symptoms include numbness, tingling, sharp pains, muscle weakness, loss of reflexes, balance issues, and foot problems.

  1. How can diabetic neuropathy be prevented?

Tight blood sugar control and a healthy lifestyle can help prevent or slow down the progression of diabetic neuropathy.

  1. What are the risk factors for developing diabetic neuropathy?

Poor blood sugar control, duration of Diabetes, kidney disease, being overweight, and smoking are risk factors for developing diabetic neuropathy.

  1. How is diabetic neuropathy diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on symptoms and tests like filament test for touch sensitivity and nerve conduction studies.

  1. What are some treatments for relieving pain in diabetic neuropathy?

Medications like anti-seizure drugs or antidepressants may be used to relieve nerve pain in diabetic neuropathy.

  1. Why is foot care important in diabetic neuropathy?

Proper foot care helps prevent complications like ulcers that are common in individuals with diabetic neuropathy.

  1. Can alternative medicine help manage diabetic neuropathy symptoms?

Alternative treatments such as capsaicin cream or acupuncture may help alleviate pain associated with diabetic neuropathy.

  1. What complications can arise from diabetic neuropathy?

Complications include loss of limb due to infections or ulcers, urinary tract issues, hypoglycemia unawareness, low blood pressure among others.

  1. How can individuals cope with living with diabetic neuropathy?

Seeking support from counselors or support groups can provide encouragement and advice on managing the challenges posed by diabetic neuropathy.