Between 60% – 70% of people with diabetes will have some form of neuropathy in their life.
Diabetic Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage which occurs as a result of diabetes.
This condition affects the nerves throughout the body, causing numbness or pain in the hands, arms, feet and legs.
Nerve damage can also cause problems with the digestive tract, heart, sexual organs, eyes and lungs.
People affected by neuropathy have severe problems with mobility.
This often leads to depression and social isolation.
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy may go unnoticed at first and develop gradually while worsening over time.
The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop nerve damage.
Factors like being overweight, high blood cholesterol, smoking and alcohol abuse all increase the risk of developing nerve disease.
The 4 main types of diabetic neuropathy are:
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Proximal Neuropathy
- Autonomic Neuropathy
- Focal Neuropathy
This is the most common type of neuropathy.
It affects the feet, legs, hands and arms.
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty walking
- Reduced ability to feel pain, especially in feet and toes
- Tingling or burning sensation
- Pain when walking
- Sharp, jabbing pain that may become worse at night
- Extreme sensitivity. Even the lightest touch can be extremely painful
- Ulcers, infection and deformities of the foot
For more information on peripheral neuropathy, please read Exposed: The Truth About Compounding And peripheral Neuropathy.
This form of neuropathy brings about muscle weakness and a loss of strength.
It affects the thighs, hips, buttocks and legs.
- Rapid onset of pain and weakness, typically in one leg
- Pain worsens at night
- Changes in bowel and bladder function
- Unexplained weight loss
Affects involuntary body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration and digestion.
Individuals may, for example, have an intolerance to exercise due to the heart rate remaining unchanged during physical activity.
- Dizziness and fainting due to sudden drop in blood pressure
- Abnormal digestive function
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach bloating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty swallowing
- Erectile dysfunction
- Vaginal dryness
- Difficulty regulating body temperature due to excessive or decreased sweating
- Sluggish pupil reaction
This form of neuropathy focuses on one specific nerve, most often the wrist, thigh, or foot.
Symptoms depend on the affected nerve and may appear and disappear suddenly.
They may include:
- Sudden weakness in the ankle causing the foot to drop
- Cheek that drops
- Inability to close one eye
- Trouble moving eyes
- Double vision
- Pain in a band-shaped area around the chest or abdominal area
- Lower back pain extending to the thigh, even causing paralysis
Diet Do’s & Dont’s
Diabetic neuropathy can be prevented or controlled, but there is no cure.
If you suffer from diabetic neuropathy, make sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet in order to keep your blood sugar levels down.
Diabetes type 1 lasts a lifetime…
Type 2 will also usually last a lifetime, however, some people have managed to get rid of their symptoms without medication.
Through a combination of diet and body weight control, you too can rid yourself of unwanted symptoms.
This means that you should:
- Limit sugar
- Count carbohydrates
- Enjoy plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Have frequent small meals
- Do not skip meals
- Limit fat
Treatment first involves bringing blood glucose levels back to an acceptable range.
Foot care is extremely important in order to avoid foot ulcers.
More than 60% of all non-traumatic lower-limb amputations in the United States today occur in people with diabetes.
Comprehensive foot care programs can reduce amputation rates by 45% – 85%.
Due to the loss of feeling, the feet are prone to cuts, blisters which can lead to major complications if left untreated.
Amputation may even be the result if not treated in time.
Inspect your feet daily and invest in comfortable socks and shoes.
For more on foot care and treatment options, please read Diabetic Neuropathy & Blood Sugar levels.