Peripheral neuropathy is one of the most prevalent diabetic complications. It affects more than 60% of people with diabetes. The most recognizable symptoms are numbness and tingling sensations in your limbs and hands. Fortunately, you can reduce your risk or manage symptoms. Discover why diabetic foot care in The Woodlands is essential for your health.
What is peripheral neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is the most common neuropathy affecting people with diabetes. It is referred to as peripheral since it damages the nerves outside the spinal cord and brain.
Peripheral neuropathy can affect different areas of the body, including the digestive system and blood circulation. But in diabetic patients, it often causes weakness or loss of sensation in the limb and legs.
Causes of peripheral neuropathy in Diabetics
Diabetic neuropathy develops gradually with mild symptoms at its onset. It usually occurs when your blood sugar levels are consistently high.
High blood sugar levels can damage the walls of blood vessels supplying nutrients to nerves. Limiting oxygen and crucial nutrients diminishes your body’s capacity to send signals. It prevents sensory information from reaching your central nervous system.
Genetics can also be a factor for diabetic neuropathy. Autoimmune diseases may cause your body to attack nerve tissues. You are more likely to develop nerve complications if your family has a history of the condition.
Nerve damage usually occurs after ten years of acquiring diabetes. The risk of diabetic neuropathy rises the longer it takes to address your high blood sugar levels. Therefore, taking steps to manage blood glucose reduces your susceptibility to complications.
Some of the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy include:
- Loss of sensation in your hands or legs
- Muscle fatigue and weakness
- Loss of your grip when holding objects
- Sharp pain in your limbs
- Elevated sensitivity to touch
Peripheral neuropathy and potential complications
Diabetic neuropathy can lead to several health complications if untreated. Burns and injuries happen more frequently due to the loss of sensation. Patients may not realize their arms or legs are hurting since they can’t sense temperature differences.
The condition also weakens muscles, which may impact your quality of life. Patients may often drop items or fall when performing routine tasks.
Peripheral neuropathy also affects blood circulation. In severe cases, patients develop ulcers that may lead to amputations. But managing your blood sugar levels can reduce the risk of complications.
Diagnosis and treatment options
Your provider will examine your body for muscle weakness and reflexes. Several tests are also performed to check your nerve function. The process may involve nerve biopsy to extract samples of your nerve tissue.
Your age and the severity of your condition are some factors that will inform the treatment process. The first step is to stop the disease progression by managing your blood sugar levels.
Some patients may require wound care and ulcer treatment to restore limb function. Your provider will prescribe an antidepressant to relieve pain. You may need specialized footwear that can reduce the pressure on your foot.
Consult a Foot and Ankle Specialist and schedule a diabetic neuropathy consultation today.
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