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What You Should Know About Neuropathy if You're a Diabetic

Being diagnosed with diabetes is life-changing. You have to be aware of things you weren’t before, like your blood sugar levels, and you also have to make careful choices with your diet.

On top of all that, you also have to worry about your nerve health. 

Our team of experts at US Neuropathy Centers is sharing their best information about diabetic neuropathy, so you can take complete control of your diabetes and live your healthiest life.

An overview of diabetic neuropathy

Everyone with diabetes has to monitor their blood sugar levels, diet, and exercise, but 50% of diabetics also have to be aware of a type of nerve damage known as diabetic neuropathy. 

This happens when an excess amount of sugar in your blood damages your nerves, typically in your legs and feet. 

Diabetic neuropathy can cause a wide range of symptoms, from pain and numbness in your lower extremities to even more serious problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, and cardiovascular system. 

Some are fortunate and only experience mild symptoms, but others suffer from extremely painful and debilitating diabetic neuropathy.

Types of diabetic neuropathy

There are four main types of diabetic neuropathy, and while most diabetics only have one type, it’s possible to develop more than one type. Here’s a closer look at each type. 

Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy refers to damage to the peripheral nerves, which are nerves that branch off of your central nervous system and extend throughout your body. It typically affects your lower extremities first, followed by your hands and arms. 

Some of the common signs of peripheral neuropathy include:

These symptoms are often worse at night and persist throughout the day. Contact us immediately if you have symptoms that are severe, like foot ulcers that won’t heal.

Autonomic neuropathy

This kind of diabetic neuropathy affects the nerves that control your heart, bladder, stomach, intestines, sex organs, and eyes. If you have autonomic neuropathy, you might experience bladder or bowel problems, vision problems, or decreased sexual response. 

You should never ignore these changes in digestion, urination, and sexual function. Make an appointment right away if you experience any of these symptoms. 

Proximal neuropathy

You might know this kind of diabetic neuropathy as diabetic amyotrophy. It attacks the nerves in your thighs, hips, buttocks, and legs as well as your abdomen and chest. Symptoms usually occur on one side of your body, but they can spread to both sides. 

With proximal neuropathy, you may experience symptoms like:

This kind of diabetic neuropathy might also make it hard for you to get up from a seated position. Contact us if your symptoms are disrupting your daily routine. 

Mononeuropathy

This fourth type of diabetic neuropathy affects your eyes, specifically the cranial and peripheral nerves in your eyes. This can cause vision problems like double vision, trouble focusing, and aching behind one eye. 

It can also result in symptoms like paralysis on one side of your face or numbness or tingling in your hand that causes you to drop things. 

Causes of diabetic neuropathy

It’s widely accepted that diabetic neuropathy stems from uncontrolled high blood sugar over a long period of time. The sugar in your blood interferes with your nerves’ ability to send signals to and from your brain properly. 

Uncontrolled blood sugar also weakens the walls of the smaller blood vessels that supply your nerves with oxygen and nutrients. 

Any diabetic can suffer from nerve damage, but there are a few factors that increase your risk, including:

These factors all contribute to your chances of developing diabetic neuropathy, but poor blood sugar control puts you at the greatest risk. 

Complications of diabetic neuropathy 

Leaving diabetic neuropathy untreated can lead to serious health threats. For example, you might develop hypoglycemia unawareness, which is a condition that interferes with your ability to notice the warning signs of low blood sugar levels. 

In the most serious cases, the nerve damage associated with diabetic neuropathy might lead to loss of a toe, foot, or leg. 

Treating your diabetic neuropathy

To avoid these complications and find relief from your symptoms, we offer a variety of diabetic neuropathy treatments. Depending on your needs, we might recommend medication, peripheral nerve stimulators, or nerve decompression surgery.

We also provide regular foot care evaluations where we check for warning signs of ulcers and wounds. 

You don’t have to let diabetic neuropathy and its complications control your life. Call our office or schedule an appointment online to get the life-changing treatment and care you need.

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