A condition where there is a disorder in the nerves caused by diabetes is often referred to as diabetic neuropathy. Nerves that are found in the feet and in the legs are most commonly affected. Both Type 1 and 2 diabetics can develop this condition.
There are four ways to classify diabetic neuropathies:
- That which causes pain in the feet, arms, toes, legs and hands is called the Peripheral Neuropathy. This is the most common of them all.
- That which controls the operation of the heart rate, blood pressure and digestion is called the Autonomic Neuropathy. It also can affect the bladder and bowel function.
- The cause of muscles feeling generally weak and being in pain is referred to as Focal Neuropathy.
- When the thigh, hip and buttocks are experiencing pain or numbness, it is called the Proximal Neuropathy. This, however, is the least common.
Not every diabetic patient develops neuropathy. But generally speaking, it can be caused by:
- Genetic factors such as someone in the family also having the same condition.
- Blood sugar remaining high for a long time. As some people do not regularly check their sugar levels, the sugar level can remain unnecessarily high for a prolonged period of time. This condition can cause the development of neuropathy.
- Persistently high cholesterol levels are a precursor to the development of this condition. Cholesterol levels should always be kept within the normal range.
- Injury to some particular nerves is likely to lead to the development of this condition.
- If a diabetic is engaged in activities such as smoking cigarettes or consuming alcohol, they can develop neuropathy. It is strongly recommended to stay away from these habits.
This condition can be prevented and in some cases treated. If your sugar levels are within the normal range, that is good prevention. For treatment, work with your doctor to bring the sugar levels back into the acceptable limits.
Whether they are preventing or treating neuropathy, diabetics need to take good care of their feet. Keep your feet clean, dry and moisturized. Any unusual appearances on your feet should be immediately reported to your doctor. This should be done after a thorough inspection of your feet each day, preferably by the use of a mirror. During your appointments, your doctor should also be inspecting your feet. Never walk bare-footed and avoid shoes or sandals that expose the toes to injury.
You should always be in touch with your doctor to give you the necessary treatment you will require to address this condition. There have been cases where neuropathy has not been treated as required. In most cases, the symptoms are so minor that they go unnoticed. If this happens then it is likely that more serious repercussions could occur. They can include eye diseases commonly referred to as retinopathy or kidney disease also known as nephropathy. In either case, you need to discuss with your doctor about the possibility of seeing a specialist for either condition.