When we think about diabetes, what typically comes to mind is high blood sugar and the pricking of fingers. Yet, high blood sugar associated with diabetes can also lead to another less discussed issue: diabetic neuropathy. But what is diabetic neuropathy, and what are the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy? Read on to learn more and discover how you can treat diabetic neuropathy.
What is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetes can damage your nerves. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a complication of high blood pressure, often associated with diabetes, is nerve damage. Nerve damage is hazardous because when the nerves can no longer send and receive messages from one another, and you may not be truly aware of what is happening to your body. This numbness of the limbs can also lead to intense pain that makes it difficult to perform your daily activities.
Diabetic neuropathy can occur in multiple ways. Despite this, high blood sugar seems to be the common factor. There are four types of diabetic neuropathy: peripheral, autonomic, proximal, and focal.
A Closer Look at the Four Types
Peripheral neuropathy typically occurs in the feet and legs. This type of neuropathy is often the most common type of diabetic neuropathy. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, a burning sensation, and pain.
Autonomic neuropathy refers to your digestive system. It can also affect your blood vessels and urinary system, though this is less common. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, constipation, heartburn, and feeling fuller more quickly after a small meal. If autonomic neuropathy affects your blood vessels, you may feel dizzy, blackout after standing too rapidly and have low blood pressure.
Proximal neuropathy typically affects one side of your body and can usually be felt in the thighs, hips, buttocks, and as weakness in the legs. This pain can be severe, and those suffering from proximal neuropathy typically undergo physical therapy and take medication for their pain management.
Finally, focal neuropathy affects specific nerves in the head, legs, or torso. This type of neuropathy can occur more suddenly than the others. Symptoms include eye pain, double vision, severe pain in one spot on the body, and intense stomach or chest pain.
How to Treat Diabetic Neuropathy
According to the American Diabetes Association, about half of those with diabetes will experience some form of diabetic neuropathy. Therefore, it is crucial for those with diabetes or who care for loved ones with diabetes to know how to prevent and treat neuropathy.
Some preventative measures and treatments for diabetic neuropathy you can take are:
- Actively working to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range
- Checking your limbs, especially your legs and feet, daily for numbness or tingling
- Wearing well-fitting shoes and wearing them often to avoid injury to your feet
- Eat smaller meals if you are experiencing issues with your digestive system
- Take supplements that support healthy nerve function
- Contact your doctor and discuss a treatment plan best suited for you
Diabetic neuropathy, while familiar, does not have to be inevitable. By staying on top of your symptoms and taking active steps to prevent and treat diabetic neuropathy, such as taking supplements such as Neuro Revive to support healthy nerve function, you can reclaim your body from diabetic neuropathy.