What is Diabetic Nerve Damage and What You Can Do About It?

If you have diabetes, then you may be at risk for developing diabetic nerve damage, also called diabetic neuropathy. This is nerve damage that can be caused by diabetes and high blood sugar. Diabetic neuropathy can affect any part of the body, but it most commonly affects the feet and legs. The damage can cause problems with sensation in the affected area, as well as pain. The damage can also lead to complications like infection, amputation, and death.

There are things you can do to prevent diabetic neuropathy from getting worse and to improve your symptoms if you already have any. So, what is diabetic nerve damage? In this article, we will discuss what it is, the 4 most common types of diabetic neuropathy, what causes it, symptoms, and what you can do about it.

The 4 most common types of diabetic nerve damage are:

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Proximal neuropathy
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Focal neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy

Diabetic Foot due to Diabetic Nerve Damage
Diabetic Foot due to Nerve Damage

Peripheral neuropathy is the most common caused nerve damage and is also called diabetic nerve pain. It is a condition that develops when the peripheral nervous system becomes damaged. It may lead to complications with the foot including ulcers, infections, sores, foot deformities and amputation.

You may not even know these complications are developing due to nerve damage. Over time, it can be a debilitating and painful condition. This type of neuropathy can be caused by a variety of conditions, including diabetes, infections, certain medications, and exposure to toxins. In some cases, the cause is unknown. Symptoms can include numbness, tingling, and pain in the hands and feet. In severe cases, it can lead to muscle weakness and paralysis. There is no cure for peripheral neuropathy, but there are treatments available to help manage the symptoms.

One of the most common signs of peripheral neuropathy is a feeling of numbness or tingling in the extremities. It may be often accompanied by a loss of sensation in the affected area. Another common symptom is pain. It may range from mild to severe, and it may be constant or intermittent. In some cases, people with peripheral neuropathy may also experience muscle weakness, cramping, or paralysis.

If you think you may be experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the condition from getting worse. There are a variety of treatments available for peripheral neuropathy, so your doctor will work with you to develop a plan that’s right for you.

Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and managing the underlying condition. Some people may also need physical or occupational therapy to help them regain strength and function. Other things that may help are:

  • Exercising regularly to maintain muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothing and shoes to avoid constricting the nerves.
  • Taking breaks during extended periods of sitting or standing to improve blood circulation.
  • Avoiding alcohol and quitting smoking, as these can worsen nerve damage.
  • Vitamins and minerals may support nerve health, while easing symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that can have a major impact on your quality of life. But with early diagnosis and treatment, you can manage your symptoms and live an active, fulfilling life.

Proximal Neuropathy

Hip pain due to Diabetic Nerve Damage
Hip pain

Proximal neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that affects nerves in the thighs, hips, buttocks, or legs. The first symptom is usually pain in the affected area. It may be followed by weakness and wasting (atrophy) of the muscles in that area. Proximal neuropathy can be caused by diabetes, alcohol abuse, certain medications, or other health conditions. Treatment for proximal neuropathy may include physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

Proximal neuropathy is more common in people with type 2 diabetes and tends to happen later in the course of the disease, effecting older people. It’s also more common in obese people and those who have had diabetes for a long time. Treatment for proximal neuropathy includes pain relief, physical therapy, and exercise. In some cases, surgery may be needed to correct the problem.

If you have proximal neuropathy, you may be at risk for falls and other injuries. You should see your doctor if you have any of the symptoms listed above. Your doctor will likely do a physical exam and order tests to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your proximal neuropathy.

If you have diabetes, you will need to closely control your blood sugar levels. If alcohol abuse is the cause, you will need to stop drinking and get treatment for alcoholism. Certain medications can cause proximal neuropathy as a side effect. Your doctor may be able to switch you to a different medication. In some cases, treatment may not be possible, and you will need to learn to manage your symptoms.

Proximal neuropathy can be a difficult condition to live with. However, there are things you can do to make it easier. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions and take all your medications as prescribed. If you have diabetes, you should also follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly. You may also need to make some lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or cutting back on alcohol. With proper treatment and self-care, you can manage your proximal neuropathy and enjoy your life.

Autonomic Neuropathy

Diabetic Nerve Damage: Digestive System
Digestive System
 Autonomic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur when the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is damaged. The ANS controls many automatic functions of the body, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and digestion. Autonomic neuropathy can cause problems with any of these functions.

There are many causes of autonomic neuropathy, including diabetes, certain infections, and certain types of cancer. Treatment depends on the cause of the autonomic neuropathy. In some cases, no treatment is necessary. In other cases, treatment may include medications or surgery.

Autonomic neuropathy is a serious condition that can lead to life-threatening problems. If you have any symptoms of autonomic neuropathy, see your doctor right away.

The many symptoms of autonomic neuropathy can include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Problems with digestion, such as constipation, diarrhea, or nausea
  • Urinary problems, such as difficulty urinating or incontinence (leaking urine)
  • Sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness or difficulty achieving orgasm
  • Problems with sweating, such as not sweating enough in hot weather or excessive sweating (hypohidrosis or anhidrosis)
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath during exercise
  • Increased heart rate
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Problems with blood sugar regulation, such as hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia
  • Dry mouth and eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Fainting (syncope)
  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Problems with blood pressure, such as orthostatic hypotension or hypertension. Orthostatic hypotension is a sudden drop in blood pressure when you stand up from sitting or lying down. Hypertension is high blood pressure.

Autonomic neuropathy is a serious condition that can lead to life-threatening problems. Early diagnosis and treatment of autonomic neuropathy can help prevent or reduce serious complications.

Focal Neuropathy

Diabetic Nerve Damage: Hand Pain
Hand Pain

Focal neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that affects only one nerve or group of nerves. It can affect several nerves in the body, most commonly affecting nerves in the torso, head, hands and legs. Focal neuropathy can be caused by a variety of things, including diabetes, infections, physical trauma, and toxins. It can also be idiopathic, which means that the cause is unknown.

Symptoms of focal neuropathy include tingling, pain, weakness, or paralysis in the affected area. The symptoms can come on suddenly or develop over time. Focal neuropathy is usually diagnosed based on a person’s symptoms and medical history. Treatment for focal neuropathy focuses on relieving the symptoms. It includes medication and physical therapy. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the affected nerve.

Focal neuropathy can be a difficult condition to live with. The symptoms can be painful and debilitating. If you have focal neuropathy, it is important to seek medical treatment to help relieve your symptoms. There are also things that you can do at home to help manage your symptoms.

Here are some tips for living with focal neuropathy:

  • Get plenty of rest. It may help your body heal and ease symptoms
  • Exercise regularly. It may help to improve blood flow and ease pain and weakness
  • Eat a healthy diet. It may help your body to function properly and reduce inflammation
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can worsen symptoms and cause further damage to the nerves
  • Take medications as prescribed. It may help to relieve pain and other symptoms

If you have focal neuropathy, following these tips can help you to manage your condition and improve your quality of life. Remember, if you are experiencing severe symptoms, it is important to seek medical treatment. Focal neuropathy can be a difficult condition, but with proper treatment and self-care, you can live a full and normal life.

Prevention

Diabetic nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) is a serious complication of diabetes. It can cause pain, numbness, and weakness all over your body especially in your hands, arms, legs, and feet. Diabetic neuropathy can also lead to problems with your digestion, blood pressure, and heart. If you have diabetes, it’s important to control your blood sugar levels and see your doctor regularly to help prevent diabetic nerve damage.

There is no cure for diabetic nerve damage, but treatments are available to help relieve the symptoms. These include pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications. In some cases, surgery may be needed to correct problems caused by the condition.

If you have diabetes, it’s also important to take care of your feet. Diabetic nerve damage can especially cause problems with sensation in your feet, which can lead to foot ulcers and infections. To help prevent these complications, you should:

  • Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and socks
  • Don’t walk barefoot
  • Carefully clean your feet every day
  • Check your feet for sores, cuts, or redness
  • See your doctor regularly for foot exams

See what could bring your feet relief

By taking these steps, you can help prevent diabetic nerve damage from causing serious problems. If you have any symptoms of the condition, be sure to see your doctor right away. Early treatment can help relieve symptoms and prevent further damage.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any tips to share on how to prevent or manage diabetic nerve damage? Let us know in the comments below!

 Conclusion

Diabetic nerve damage is a serious complication of diabetes. This illness only increases risk of nerve damage the longer that you have had diabetes and the older you get. Diabetic nerve damage is one of the most common complications of diabetes, affecting up to 50% of people with the disease. The condition can cause a range of symptoms, from pain and numbness in your extremities to problems with your digestive system, heart, and sexual organs.

Thank you so much for reading this article on diabetic nerve damage. I hope that by now, it’s clear how serious and complicated the condition can be to manage-but with treatment like chiropractic care or physical therapy alongside your medication regimen; many people live full lives despite these challenges! For anyone out there looking into your options: do give us a shout if we might could help in any way possible because our goal here at Living with Type 2 Diabetes is nothing less than total health.

References

[1] Dansinger, MD, M. (2021, May 4). What Is Diabetic Neuropathy? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-neuropathy

[2] Mayo Clinic Staff. (2022, April 29). Diabetic neuropathy. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-neuropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20371580

[3] Remedy Health Media, LLC. (2020, February 5). Diabetic Neuropathy: Causes and Symptoms. Endocrineweb. https://www.endocrineweb.com/guides/diabetic-neuropathy/diabetic-neuropathy-symptoms

[4] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018, February). What Is Diabetic Neuropathy? National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/nerve-damage-diabetic-neuropathies/what-is-diabetic-neuropathy

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