Diabetic neuropathy is a form of nerve damage which can be caused by diabetes. Diabetes raises your blood sugar, and high amounts of glucose affect your all of the nerves in the human body. The nerves affected is unique to each person who suffers from diabetic neuropathy. Although a common complication from diabetes, it is still serious.
Those At Risk
If you have diabetes or have poor blood sugar control, you are most at risk. The risk increases the longer you have diabetes or the longer your blood control is unstable. Being overweight also may increase your risk of diabetic neuropathy.
Nerve damage is also more likely to occur if you smoke. When you smoke, your arteries become narrower and harder. Therefore, reducing your blood flow to the legs and feet. When blood flow is reduced, the body is not able to heal wounds as fast and it injures the peripheral nerves.
Living With It
Living with diabetic neuropathy can mean a number of things. The main concern with this complication is having to lose a toe, foot, or even leg. This is due to the lack of feeling you may get from the nerve damage. Common cuts and sores will not be felt, and can then become easily infected. The infection can go left untreated, becoming severe enough to cause tissue death.
Damage to the joints is another outcome. The nerve damage may cause Charcot joint, a condition from a deteriorated joint. Charcot joint is most commonly seen in the small joints of the feet. Symptoms of this complication include joint swelling, lack of sensation, and even joint deformity.
Treatment for diabetic neuropathy basically comes in three ways; slowing the process of the disease, managing the pain, and managing the complications. There is no real cure for this complication, but treatment helps those with it be able to live with it and slow it down as much as possible.
First and foremost, diabetic neuropathy is best treated when your blood sugar is being controlled and regulated. Continuous high blood sugar levels will only further damage your nerves. Being active and eating healthy food choices is also a huge way to help treat diabetic neuropathy.
Seeing your doctor is important in helping treat it. There are several therapies, such as acupuncture or physical therapy that can work alongside medications. TENS, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation, is a therapy that works by preventing pain signals from reaching the brain.
Diabetic neuropathy requires special attention and awareness, as it can escalate silently. Talk with your doctor to find the best treatment and management plan.