DIABETES & DIABETIC NEUROPAHY
When most of us think of Diabetic Neuropathy we immediately think of our feet. And, while this is a major part of the problem, there are other areas of the body that can, and often are, also affected by Diabetic Neuropathy. In this brief dissertation we will take a look at these other areas, and also discuss ways to minimize the effect of Diabetic Neuropathy.
It is probably best if we first make sure that we have a common understanding as to what Diabetic Neuropathy is. First and foremost, Diabetic Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage created by long term blood-sugar levels that are above normal. Typically, it is slow developing, often taking several decades to manifest itself. One of the major concerns regarding Diabetic Neuropathy is the fact that vulnerability to infections or injuries is a major reality.
When it comes to detecting Diabetic Neuropathy there are a host of symptoms to be aware of, including but certainly not limited to:
- Burning sensation in feet, especially at night
- Difficulty with coordination when walking
- Increased heart rate
- Nausea, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation
- Sensitivity to touch/Lack of sensation of touch
- Vision problems, such as double vision
As easily determined by surveying these symptoms, there is more than one type of Diabetic Neuropathy. The four major ones include:
- Autonomic Neuropathy – There are a number or our organs and muscles that are controlled by the Autonomic Nervous System, including:
- Cardiovascular System
- Digestive System
- Sex Organs and Bladder
- Sweat Glands
- Focal Neuropathy – Also known as Mononeuropathy, this ailment is indicative of the fact that there is damage to one specific nerve, or group of nerves, causing weakness in the affected areas. Typically, this takes place in areas such as the hand, head, torso, or leg, with the most common being carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Peripheral Neuropathy – The most common form of Diabetic Neuropathy, this is manifested most often in the legs and feet, though it can also be experienced in the arms or hands. Symptoms can range from mild to extreme, and often include:
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Insensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Loss of balance and/or coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Sharp pain or cramping
- Tingling or burning sensations
- Proximal Neuropathy – Somewhat rare, this form of Diabetic Neuropathy is most likely to affect the hips, buttocks, or thighs. The good news is that that those with Proximal Neuropathy usually recover, and many do so with no treatment.
While Diabetic Neuropathy is not curable, there are some effective ways to treat it – and, most of the treatments are considered proper protocols for Diabetics in general. This includes maintaining proper blood-sugar levels through diet and exercise; making sure not to smoke; and avoiding obesity. Pain from Diabetic Neuropathy can be managed with proper medications, which should, of course, be prescribed by a physician.
It is commonly accepted that to catch Diabetic Neuropathy in its early stages that the Diabetic should always be aware of the condition of their feet. This mandates that the feet are inspected daily, with special attention to any sores or ulcers that might appear, and that the feet be washed and moisturized daily. As soon as a problem is discovered, or even suspected, it is imperative that your doctor be contacted immediately.
If you, or someone you know, needs help in managing their Diabetes, please call AVEON HEALTH at 480-300-4663 to make an appointment with a member of our staff and allow them to escort you down the path to an improved quality of life for you and your loved ones!
This Blog was written, in great part, with information gleaned from the following sources: