Neuropathy in the feet is a common complaint among diabetic patients. Neuropathy is a collection of disorders that occur when nerves of the peripheral nervous system are damage. The peripheral nervous system is the part of the nervous system outside of the brain and spinal cord. This is commonly referred to as peripheral neuropathy. While peripheral neuropathy can be caused by traumatic injuries, metabolic disorders, infections and exposure to toxins, the most common cause is diabetes.
Many diabetic patients have difficulty keeping their blood glucose level in the normal range. Usually they struggle from a high blood glucose level. More than half of diabetic patients also suffer from neuropathy, especially neuropathy in the feet.
Neuropathy in the feet is often described as a tingling or burning sensation. This pain may exist for long periods of time or short moments in time. There is no specific amount of time that all patients experience. It is suspected that proper nutrition can greatly help diabetic patients become in control of their neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy is difficult for doctors diagnose. This is because it is not a specific single disease, but instead, a symptom of several potential causes. Usually, doctors will start with a full medical history. Then, the doctor may move on to physical and neurological exams. These will examine tendon reflexes, muscle strength and tone, the ability to feel sensations, posture and coordination. Once the exams have been completed, many doctors order blood tests to measure levels of vitamin B12. However, they may also run urinalysis, thyroid function, and nerve conduction. If some of these tests come back questionable, the physicians may also do a nerve biopsy. During a nerve biopsy, a small portion of the nerve is removed and examined at a microscopic level.
Managing and preventing neuropathy
Good foot health is essential for diabetics. This means checking their feet for blisters, cuts or calluses. Diabetics are also told to avoid tight fitting shoes and socks. Sometimes doctors will recommended and exercise plan that will reduce neuropathy pain and help control blood sugar levels. Eating healthy and not smoking can also help. It is also suggested that massages of the feet can help neuropathy management by helping stimulate nerves and relieve pain temporarily.
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