Neuropathy is damage to the nerves of any part of the body. Several factors cause the nerves to destroy or rupture, and one of the utmost reasons is diabetes. It is a chronic disease that affects the blood sugar regulation in your body.
By definition, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, also known as diabetic neuropathy, is the name given to this type of peripheral neuropathy. It occurs due to nerve damage caused by chronically rising blood sugar levels and diabetes. It’s the most frequent diabetic condition, and it typically leads to numbness, loss of sensation, and discomfort in your feet, legs, and hands. Peripheral neuropathy can involve the degeneration of different nerve types, specifically motor nerves, sensory nerves, and autonomic nerves.
About 65% of diabetic patients at some point in their life eventually develop peripheral neuropathy but having varied symptoms.
Diabetic nerve damage is neither inevitable nor avoidable, yet its consequences can be life-threatening and can lead to disability and permanent paralysis. These changes are subtle and gradually take over after a few months without you even noticing.
The two types of diabetes
The two types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with both having a high prevalence rate. The second kind of diabetes is more common than the first, afflicting about 90 percent of people in the United States.
Under rare circumstances, you might also have more than one type of diabetic neuropathy simultaneously. Because of these complex conditions, the borough of Bloomfield in New Jersey assures pain alleviation through modern equipment choices for victims of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
An example of diabetic neuropathy
Diabetes can reduce blood flow, especially towards your feet, depriving your feet of oxygen and nutrients. Diabetes can deprive your feet of oxygen and nourishment by creating a reduction in the blood flow, particularly towards the feet. Thus, making it more difficult for blisters, wounds, and cuts to heal. If these blisters don’t go under notice in time, they may develop ulcers that can get deeply infected.
Symptoms of nerve damage due to diabetes
Every person’s nerve injury uniquely manifests itself. Most people experience tingling at first, shortly followed by pain. Others lose sensation in the four limbs culminating in stiffness and numbness. However, numbness is the most common and troublesome symptom of nerve damage due to diabetes. The lack of sensation is overly concerning. Patients who suffer from hypoesthesia are the ones who are most likely prone to develop ulcers on their feet and require limb amputation.
Some early symptoms of peripheral neuropathy to look out for are:
- Glove and stocking
- Pins and needles like tingling
- Swelling and inflammation
- Sharp pain
- Cramps in the affected region
- Deep stabbing sensation
- Urination problems
- Touch sensitivity
You might experience tingling or numbness in your toes, feet, legs, or hands, along with an increased sensitivity to touch.
- Muscle weakness
Chronically elevated blood sugars can also damage nerves that tell muscles how to move. Chronically high blood sugars can harm nerve cells that instruct muscle movement to perform their functions. It ultimately leads to muscle weakness. You can have trouble walking or rising from a chair or struggle to grasp or hold objects with your hands.
- Trouble balancing
You may feel more unsteady than usual and uncoordinated when you walk. It happens when the body reacts and adjusts to alterations imposed by muscle damage.
The A1C (glycated hemoglobin) test is the most primary way to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This fasting blood test determines your average blood sugar level for the past 2 to 3 months. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher indicates diabetes. Although if you have a frail condition, then the doctor may opt for different ways for prognosis.
Other specific tests to diagnose diabetic neuropathy consist of:
- Monofilament test
- MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging)
- Needle electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies
- Tissue and nerve biopsy
Diabetic neuropathy treatment
Studies have shown that people with diabetes can reduce their risk of developing nerve damage. You can do so by keeping the blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. You can maintain balanced blood glucose by the few following treatment options that help slow the progression of this condition and limit the damage before it gets any worse.
- Keeping track of your blood sugar levels
Monitoring your blood sugar is essential in managing diabetes to prevent any diabetic neuropathy from happening. It helps you keep track and meet the targeted limit.
- Insulin therapy
Since there is no specific cure for type 1 diabetes, people with this condition cannot produce insulin naturally. For this reason, Insulin therapy sessions play a vital role in the treatment for neuropathy caused by diabetes.
It helps regulate your blood sugar levels within the desired ranger of between 140 and 199 mg/dL.
- Controlled diet and lifestyle
A successful diet and lifestyle come with self-control.
Type 2 diabetes can usually be managed by following a proper diet and with regular exercise alone.
Managing your nutrition is a very vital part of life if you happen to suffer from diabetes. Type 2 diabetes often requires weight-loss treatment plans to prevent obesity. So your doctor may recommend a low-calorie meal plan this includes reducing your consumption of animal fats, junk food, and sugary food.
Healthy foods that immensely contribute to diabetic neuropathy care:
- Fish oil aids in the treatment for neuropathy because of its anti-inflammatory characteristic. As a result, it can heal moderately damaged neurons and reverse acute diabetic neuropathy.
- Other essentials that comprise the same omega-3 fatty acids as fish oil are cod liver oil, soybeans, botanical oil, and chia seeds.
- Consume fruits like berries, peaches, cherries, oranges, and watermelons that possess antioxidants in abundance.
- Dairy products that are low in fat
- Lean protein meat is a healthy source of protein with low-fat content suitable for those who suffer from severe diabetic conditions with multiple medical problems caused by it. These include salmon and sardines, peas and lentils, and lean ground beef.
If lifestyle modifications are not enough, your doctor may prescribe medications to help your body use insulin more effectively. Medicament boosts your diabetic neuropathy treatment along with an altered lifestyle. Some prescriptions include:
- Pain relief medicines
- Anti-seizure drugs
- Medicated creams to prevent burning sensation
Having to deal with continuous dysfunction may be exhausting. Neuropathy care clinics in Bloomfield strive to help you live a comfortable life by offering support groups that urge you to remain calm about your illness and provide encouragement and emotional support through a tough time.