What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels. Diabetes is a condition that comes with high levels of blood sugar and this ends up damaging the nerves.
Though nerve damage can occur in different parts of the body, diabetic neuropathy tends to affect the feet and legs most. This is a serious diabetic complication but is preventable and can also be slowed down with a healthy lifestyle and great control of blood sugar levels.
What Causes Diabetic Neuropathy?
As we have mentioned, this is as a result of uncontrolled high sugar blood levels damaging the nerves. Usually, nerve damage occurs when you have high blood sugar levels and decreased blood flow.
Statistics show that about half of all people diagnosed with diabetes end up developing nerve damage and this can be attributed to poor management of the condition. Nerve injuries affect nerves in the body’s vital organs, the spinal column and cranial nerves or skull nerves.
What Are The Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy?
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy tend to develop over a long period of time and the symptoms will depend on the type of diabetic neuropathy you have. Early signs of nerve damage include a tingling or burning sensation on the hands or feet These sensations can be felt in the feet particularly the toes and you might also feel deep pain in your legs and feet.
Loss of sensation is also a major indication of nerve damage and if the affected nerves are in your blood vessels and heart then you may have bouts of light headedness when you stand up, a fast heart rate and even fail to recognize angina which is the chest pain that gives you forewarning of a heart attack. Other nerve damage signs include bladder problems, profuse sweating, inability to tell when your blood sugar is low and sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction.
Are There Different Types of Diabetic Neuropathy?
Yes, there are and this is mainly because different nerves are affected. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is characterized by peripheral nerve damage and these are mainly nerves on the legs and feet and hands.
Diabetic autonomic neuropathy affects the nerves that are responsible for your bodily functions and these are the vascular system, genital urinary and gastro intestinal organs. Diabetic proximal neuropathy affects hips, buttocks and thigh nerves. Diabetic focal neuropathy is yet another type of diabetic neuropathy and this type affects a specific area or nerve in any organ.
How Is Diabetic Neuropathy Diagnosed?
The LA Pain Doctor will take you through a series of test to identify if you indeed have diabetic neuropathy and the specific type you have. Various tests are done and these include: nerve conduction velocity tests which basically record the speed of nerve signals within your body. Electromyogram also known as EMG is also done and this is mainly to record your muscle electoral activity.
Autonomic testing may also be administered to identify your blood pressure in various positions as well as your sweating patterns. Quantitative sensory testing is a noninvasive test that assesses your nerve response to temperature changes and vibrations.
How Is Diabetic Neuropathy Treated?
There is no cure for diabetic neuropathy and treatment is focused on relieving pain, slowing down the disease, managing its complications as well as restoring nerve function. Keeping your blood sugar within good levels is a good way to control the risk associated with diabetic neuropathy.
You can also help slow down nerve damage by exercising, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding drugs such as alcohol and cigarette smoking. Certain medications are given to help relieve pain and these are anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, opioids and lidocaine patch which is a topical anesthetic.
One of the most revolutionary pain treatments has been a spinal cord stimulator, which has been shown in studies to provide excellent pain relief along with often restoring sensory loss. Imagine being able to properly feel your feet again even after sensation is lost!
The California Pain Network connects those individuals in pain with pain management Los Angeles trusts. This includes pain doctors, chiropractors, orthopedic surgeons and more. Simply call (310) 626-1526 for more information and scheduling today for over 10 location possibilities!