What is Diabetic Neuropathy, and What Can You Do About It?

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A person suffering from neuropathy massaging their painful foot.

One of the long-term problems associated with diabetes is nerve damage, otherwise known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The disease damages the nerves that regulate movement, sensation and other bodily processes. If neglected, the damage produced by neuropathy can lead to infection and eventual limb amputation.

People with diabetes are predisposed to have nerve issues at any moment. Therefore, neuropathy is often the first symptom to be noticed by those with diabetes. The disorder can manifest anytime during the first decade following a diabetes diagnosis. The longer you have diabetes, the higher the chance of you developing diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes-related neuropathy affects almost half of all people with diabetes.

Some nerve injuries can be avoided if you take suitable precautions. For example, controlling blood sugar levels, in addition to routine foot inspections, helps alleviate neuropathy symptoms and slow the worsening of nerve damage.

Diabetic Neuropathy Causes and Results

Elevated amounts of glucose (sugar) in the blood can harm the health of the tiny blood vessels that carry blood to the body’s nerves over time. Because of this, vital nutrients cannot reach the nerves. It can lead to damage to the nerve fibers, which could eventually lead to their degeneration and death. This can impact several areas of your body, depending on the nerve affected.

Is Diabetic Neuropathy Reversible?

Unfortunately, diabetic neuropathy is irreversible, but you can treat the symptoms. Damage to the nerves prevent them from healing on their own. However, careful management of diabetes, such as keeping blood sugar levels as close to target as possible, managing blood fat levels and controlling blood pressure, can stop the damage from happening or slow the progression of symptoms.

The best chance a patient with diabetic neuropathy has of benefiting from treatment is if the condition is identified and diagnosed early. But not all foot and limb pain are caused by diabetic neuropathy, so a thorough diagnosis is needed to ensure the proper treatment is given. Diabetic neuropathy is diagnosed through a combination of patient history, thorough physical examination and corroborating laboratory findings.

Getting Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy

The two phases of treatment for diabetic neuropathies are achieving optimal diabetes control through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication, and managing pain and other problems as they arise. Your symptoms and the extent of your neuropathy will determine the course of treatment. To avoid any more issues, please contact Allied Pain & Spine Institute as soon as possible to make an appointment.

Posted on behalf of Allied Pain & Spine Institute