Diabetic neuropathy affects people with diabetes and is considered a chronic form of nerve damage.
Anywhere between 60% – 70% of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy.
This condition affects nerves throughout the body, causing numbness or pain in the hands, arms, feet and legs.
The nerve damage can also cause problems with the digestive tract, heart, sexual organs, eyes and lungs.
People affected by neuropathy have trouble standing and walking, which affects daily life.
Having neuropathy can cause depression and social isolation.
Four Main Types Of Diabetic Neuropathy
- Peripheral Neuropathy – The most common type of neuropathy.
- Proximal Neuropathy – Brings about muscle weakness and the feeling of loss of strength.
- Autonomic Neuropathy – Nerve damage which affects some of the body’s organs.
- Focal Neuropathy – This form of neuropathy focuses on one specific area.
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can go unnoticed at first, and may develop slowly over time.
Certain factors like being overweight, high blood cholesterol, smoking and alcohol abuse can increase your risk of developing this nerve disease.
The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to develop nerve damage.
For more on information on nerve damage, please read Diabetic Neuropathy And Nerve Damage.
Daily Foot Care
When it comes to feet, those suffering from diabetic neuropathy need to take special care.
This is because nerve damage usually affects the feet.
Neuropathy causes major problems in the feet, usually due to the loss of feeling.
No sensation in the feet may lead to cuts, blisters and even amputation if not treated in time.
Make sure to apply lotion to clean feet daily and invest in comfortable socks and shoes.
More than 60% of all non-traumatic lower-limb amputations in the United States occur in people with diabetes.
Comprehensive foot care programs can reduce amputation rates by 45% – 85%.
For more information on diabetic foot ulcers, please read Diabetic Foot Ulcers & Foot Care.
Diet Do’s & Dont’s
If you suffer from diabetic neuropathy, make sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet in order to keep your blood sugar levels down.
Follow these steps to achieve a healthy glucose level:
- Limit sugar and fat
- Count carbohydrates
- Enjoy plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Have frequent small meals
- Do not skip meals
Diabetic neuropathy can be prevented or controlled, but there is no cure.
Treatment first involves bringing blood glucose levels back to an acceptable range.
Maintaining safe blood glucose levels will protect the nerves throughout the body.