Diabetic Neuropathy - Helping Diabetes Regain Feeling and Strength
What is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetic Neuropathies are a family of nerve disorders caused by diabetes. It is estimated that anywhere from 40% to 60% of diabetics experience some degree of neuropathy, although many people will not experience symptoms until 10 - 20 years after diagnosis.
Diabetic neuropathy is caused when exposure to high blood sugar (glucose) begins to damage sensitive nerve fibers. This damage causes interruptions in transmission from the nerves to the brain, resulting in numbness, tingling, or burning sensations, especially in the feet. Some other symptoms include difficulty swallowing, sharp, jabbing pain, difficulty walking, extreme sensitivity to even the slightest touch, nausea, and infections. Many people experience other symptoms as well. If you notice any pain or irregularities, be sure to notify your doctor immediately.
Although there is no cure for diabetic neuropathy, some patients are able to find relief from nerve damage by maintaining control of their glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Keeping regular appointments with your doctor and reporting any irregularities is very important, as your doctor may be able to prescribe medications or recommend exercises to help alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by nerve damage.
Signs & Symptoms
Below is a list of some of the signs and symptoms you may experience if you suffer from diabetic neuropathy. This is not a complete list and is not meant to diagnose any medical conditions. If you find you are suffering from symptoms that are painful or interfere with your daily life, please seek medical attention.
- Numbness, electric pain, tingling and/or burning sensations starting in the extremities and continuing up the legs or arms
- Heartburn and bloating
- Nausea, constipation or diarrhea
- Problems swallowing
- Feeling full when eating small amounts of food
- Vomiting a few hours after eating
- Feeling dizzy or light-headed after standing up
- Increase in heart rate, even during times of rest
- Chest pains
- Excessive sweating not due to heat or physical activity
- Bladder problems such as incontinence or difficulty urinating
- A distorted sense of touch (such as extreme sensitivity, numbness, or pain)
- Significant drooping in the face, particularly the eyelids
- Muscle weakness
- Impairments in speech
- Muscle contractions
- Difficulty regulating body temperature
- Changes in eyesight (such as decreased vision or changes in how your eyes adjust from light to dark)