Those who have diabetes sometimes develop nerve damage throughout the body. This process can take a lot of time and will occasionally not show any symptoms. However, others can experience symptoms including pain, tingling, or numbness in the extremities. There are nerves located in every organ system, including the digestive tract, heart and sex organs. This means that nerve damage can happen in all of these places.
Approximately 60 percent of diabetic patients have some form of neuropathy. Risk of neuropathy rises with both age and the amount of time the person has had diabetes. However, diabetic patients can develop nerve problems and damage at any time. The highest rates of neuropathy are those who have had diabetes for at least 25 years. Also, researchers believe that diabetic neuropathies occur in patients who have difficulty controlling their blood glucose level and those who have high levels of blood fat and pressure. Those who are overweight are also thought to suffer from a higher chance of diabetic neuropathies.
Causes Of Diabetic Neuropathies
While researchers are studying how prolonged exposure to high blood glucose levels can cause nerve damage, they still believe that it is more likely to occur from a combination of factors. The most known reason for the cause of diabetic neuropathies is metabolic factors. Metabolic factors include high blood glucose levels, long duration of diabetes, abnormally high blood fat levels and possibly low levels of insulin.
Neurovascular factors are also considered a cause of diabetic neuropathy. Neurovascular factors can cause damage to the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to nerves. Mechanical injury to nerves like carpal tunnel syndrome can also be a cause to neuropathy. Inherited traits and lifestyle factors are also considered causes of diabetic neuropathy. Inherited traits are those that raise the risk of nerve disease. Lifestyle factors include addictions like smoking and alcoholism.
Diabetic neuropathy is a serious condition that needs to be properly treated. The best way that neuropathies can be prevented is for diabetic patients to keep their blood glucose levels as close to the normal range as possible. By maintaining safe blood glucose levels the nerves throughout the patient’s body should be more protected.
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