Diabetic Neuropathy – Its Cause and Symptoms

Diabetes causes a lot of health issues and complications, and if not managed, can degrade one’s quality of life tremendously. However, there is nothing more disconcerting than what is called Diabetic Neuropathy. This condition is a type of nerve damage that is brought on by diabetes. The affliction affects both ends of the spectrum, which means that a person can have his senses dulled or be extremely sensitive to the slightest touch.

Sufferers usually have the condition on extremities, affecting the feet, the hands, legs, and arms. Because of the duality of its effect, a person may experience dulled or numbness in the extremities or be extremely sensitive, thereby amplifying even the slightest of touch into extreme pain. Both effects can be dangerous, and complications may arise because of the imbalance. As of right now, there is no known cure for nerves that are already damaged, but healthy food choices and lifestyle will stop its progression.

The main cause

Neuropathy affects both type one and types two diabetes sufferers, and as many thirty (30 percent) develop nerve damage because of the condition. High glucose levels and high levels of fat can damage your nerves, especially if one does not change lifestyle habits to alleviate them. Experts are pointing out the high blood sugar, and fat content does not directly damage the nerves, but the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the nerves. It is likely for a person with diabetes to develop nerve damage if they also have the following along with their pre-existing condition.

  • Being overweight
  • High cholesterol count
  • Heavy smoker
  • Heavy drinker
  • Has high blood pressure
  • Genetics

The symptoms

The symptoms are grouped according to the areas where the nerve damage occur, and these are Peripheral, Autonomic, Proximal, and Focal Neuropathy.

Peripheral Neuropathy

This is where the nerve damage is mostly on the feet and legs, although rare, this type of neuropathy also manifests itself into the arms and the abdomen. The effects include pain and a burning sensation. Tingling sensations also usually manifest itself to the extremities. More concerning is when numbness also occurs, as it can become permanent.

Autonomic Neuropathy

In this instance, nerve damage clustered around the urinary system and the digestive system. The effects are prominently felt in the area of the stomach itself and manifests in the form of heartburn, diarrhea, bloating, and constipation. The nerve damage in these areas will also make you feel full despite eating very little. Nausea and vomiting also accompany other symptoms.

Proximal Neuropathy

This kind of nerve damage is usually focused on one side of the body primarily on the thighs, hips or buttocks. The symptom is mainly the feeling of pain on either the left or right side of these parts and can lead to weakness in the legs.

Focal Neuropathy

Damage to these nerve cluster causes muscle weakness and pain, centered around the head area, legs, and the torso. Similarly, it also causes muscle weakness in these areas. The troubling symptoms include having double vision accompanied by pain around the eyes. Sometimes because of the locality of the pain, it can lead to misdiagnosis, especially in the belly or chest area.

While all the symptoms are alarming, they are manageable and progression can be stopped in its tracks with simple but effective lifestyle changes. These changes are focused mainly on healthy activities and watching food and alcohol consumption.

 

Sources:

 

  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245310.php
  • https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-neuropathy#2
  • https://www.endocrineweb.com/guides/diabetic-neuropathy/diabetic-neuropathy-causes
  • https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/nerve-damage-diabetic-neuropathies/what-is-diabetic-neuropathy

About Paul Fiscus

Paul Fiscus is the director of Maplewood of Sauk Prairie.