Diabetic neuropathy is type of nerve damage often found in patients suffering from type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
In this condition, high blood glucose levels damage nerves throughout the body causing various symptoms like pain and numbness in the legs, feet, poor digestion and other complications related to urinary tract, blood vessels and heart.
Doctors broadly classify diabetic neuropathy into four types:
Peripheral neuropathy is the common type that affects most diabetics. The symptoms can be first felt in the feet and in hands and arms as the condition progresses. Signs and symptoms include pain, numbness, burning sensation, cramps, weakness in muscles, loss of balance, bone and joint pain, ulcers and serious foot problems.
Autonomic nervous system deals with heartbeat, bladder control, functioning of stomach, intestines, sexual organs and eyes. Autonomic neuropathy affects nerves in these organs causing bladder issues like urinary tract infection, urine retention, constipation or diarrhea, increased or decreased sweating, high or low body temperature, difficulty in swallowing, sudden hyper or hypotension.
This particular type of neuropathy affects nerves in the legs, thighs, hips and buttocks. This condition is most common with adults suffering from type 2 diabetes. Common symptoms include severe pain in thighs, buttocks, weakening of the muscles in legs, thighs, difficulty in sitting and standing, weight loss, swelling in stomach region.
However, this condition improves gradually with the help of medication and lifestyle changes.
Mononeuropathy or focal neuropathy strikes suddenly damaging a specific nerve in the face, torso or legs. Symptoms depend on the affected nerve in the body parts like foot, lower back or pelvis, thigh, chest and stomach. In severe cases, it can affect eyes causing difficulty in focusing, double vision, paralysis on one side. Symptoms usually go away over few weeks depending on the treatment.
Prevention and Treatment:
Diabetics are strongly advised to keep their sugar levels control under check to prevent diabetic neuropathy. Monitoring levels at home is the easiest way as high blood sugar levels expedite nerve damage. Foot care is very important for patients suffering from diabetes. Keep checking for any blisters, cuts, wounds, cracked skin on the feet, while maintaining it clean and dry.
Patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy should also be aware of digestive issues, sudden drop in blood pressure, increased or decreased sweating.
Consult a diabetologist and a neurologist for proper medication. Strictly follow lifestyle changes to delay the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.