Diabetic Neuropathy: Causes, Symptoms,Types, Diagnosis, Treatment

3 min read
Diabetic Neuropathy: Causes, Symptoms,Types, Diagnosis, Treatment

Diabetic neuropathy is a serious but common complication related to type-1 and type-2 diabetes. It is a condition in which the nerve starts to get damaged to the hight sugar levels.

It begins slowly but becomes severe with passing time.

There may be times when you feel a tingling, numbness or pain in your feet and hands, these could be symptoms of neuropathy.

If you also see signs of ulcers in your foot, be sure to see a doctor.

When the condition or symptoms are ignored or left untreated, they put you at a higher risk of infections, injuries and wounds that take longer than normal to heal.

There are different types of diabetic neuropathy with different symptoms.

So, it is important to keep your blood sugar levels in check.

Hre are the causes, types, treatment of diabetic neuropathy explained in detail below.


Diabetic Neuropathy: Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy may take longer to be noticed by you but they first affect nerves of your feet and that they may give you a feeling of 'pin and needles' in your feet which makes it difficult for you to walk.

Different types of diabetic neuropathy may affect different parts of the body as well. But let's know the common signs and symptoms.

  • Extreme sensitivity to touch

  • Numbness

  • Difficulty in walking

  • Pain in hands or feet

  • Burning sensation in the feet, especially at night

  • Bloating and Vomiting

  • Weak muscles

  • Dizziness

  • Constipation or diarrhea

  • Sweating

  • Increased heart palpitations

  • Dry Vagina

  • Erectile Dysfunction

Diabetic Neuropathy: Types 

  • Peripheral Neuropathy generally affects the arms, hands, feet or legs of the patient. These symptoms may range from mild to severe. Its common for the symptoms to flare at night and may include cramps, difficulty in walking, sensations, insensitive to change in temperature, vibration, etc.

  • Because of numbness, a person may not feel pain when thy are injured, which can lead to the injury being left untreated and festering.

  • Autonomic Neuropathy is the condition in which the involuntary organs or functions, including the digestive system, cardiovascular organs, bladder, sweat glands, reproductive organs, etc. are affected.

    The symptoms may include diarrhea, excessive or least sweating, constipation, etc.

  • Proximal Neuropathy is a rare type and typically affects older men. It generally affects one side of the body specifically the hips, buttocks, legs and thighs. In some people it may lead to difficulty in even standing and they may require assistance.

Focal Neuropathy slowly damages a specific nerve, group of nerves or an organ. It may lead to weakness, tingling in the hands, torso, legs or head. The symptoms may appear suddenly with severe pain.

It may disappear after a few weeks with no long term effect. It is generally characterised by numbness, tingling, blurred vision, pain in the eyes and pain in specific region like front thighs, inside the foot, lower stomach, etc.

Diabetic Neuropathy: Causes

Diabetic neuropathy is caused due to an increase in blood sugar levels for too long. It may also happen due to the damage of blood vessels due to high cholesterol, injuries due to carpal tunnel syndrome or excessive smoking and drinking.

Diabetes medicine called metamorphin can sometimes lead to a vitamin B-12 deficiency, which can trigger neuropathy. Other risk factors include:

  • Poor management of diabetes.

  • Poor kidney function can lead to an increase of toxins in the blood, damaging the nerves.

  • Obesity can also increase the risk of diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetic Neuropathy: Diagnosis

According to the doctors at Mayo Clinic, there are various ways to diagnose a patient and confirm if he is suffering from diabetic neuropathy or not.

The doctors may ask you a few questions about your medical history and symptoms may examine you physically for sensitivity against temperature change, touch, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.

The doctor may undertake a filament test to check your touch sensitivity, sensory test to check your sensitivity to vibration and temperature change.

Then there are various tests to check the electrical signalling in your feet, electrical discharges in the muscle, and autonomic tests for sweat and blood pressure checks.


Diabetic Neuropathy: Treatment

There is no cure for diabetic neuropathy but the treatments help relieve pain, slow down the progression of the disease and prevent complications due to the high blood sugar levels.

Doctors may recommend medicines to relieve pain due to the conditions. Alternative remedies like acupuncture which uses the tips of fingers or needles to reduce the pain are also known to be effective.

Doctors may suggest treatment depending upon the symptoms and type of neuropathy.

If neuropathy causes dry vagina, lubricants may be advised. If it causes digestive issues the doctor may recommend few lifestyle and dietary changes.

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