Neuropathy is another name for nerve pain associated with diabetes mellitus. It is a complication of this disease and is caused by high blood sugar levels which damage the nerves. It doesn’t happen right away and usually appears after several years having diabetes with uncontrolled glucose levels in the blood. We have nerves throughout our bodies and different nerves are affected by different neuropathies.
For most people it starts in the feet. A tingling feeling or pricking sensation coupled with a loss of feeling in the feet or legs. The inability to feel can be very dangerous and care must be taken to not step on sharp objects and in checking one’s feet often for sores and blisters caused by ill fitted shoes. Leg pain is common because of the damage done there and sometimes it prevents the patient from walking normally. Infections that are brought on by an open wound, cause major damage and in severe cases amputation would be recommended. This kind is called peripheral neuropathy and occurs in the hands, arms, feet, toes and legs.
Autonomic neuropathy affects the autonomic nervous system which comprises all the systems of the major organs: heart, lungs, bowel and bladder functions, blood pressure and sexual response. It causes the sluggish digestion of food and could also make the person unaware of having hypoglycemia.
Proximal neuropathy gives weakness in the legs as well as pain in the thighs, buttocks and legs.
Focal neuropathy focuses on a particular nerve or a group of nerves causing weakness in the muscles of that area. All nerves are susceptible to this condition.
Neuropathy is an awful by-product of diabetes and unfortunately it’s not curable. The best way to stall the onset of it is to control the blood sugar levels. Testing often and controlling your diet can make a difference. This is especially important in the early stages of diabetes. Medications can be prescribed for the relief of the pain. Eating small and many meals can help with the digestion process. Foods should be of good quality, no junk food. Exercise is also necessary to maintain activity and an overall feeling of wellness, especially for people with type 2 diabetes. With proper perspective on neuropathy the quality of life need not be so gloomy.
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