All You Need to know about Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels for extended periods of time. High blood pressure and blood sugar levels cause increased appetite, frequent urination and thirst and dehydration. If left untreated in the long run, Diabetes causes a host of complications which severely effect normal functioning of the human body.

Diabetic Neuropathy is a term used to refer to all sorts of nerve related syndromes caused by Diabetes.  The damage includes weakened autonomicand peripheral nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for maintaining internal, involuntary functions of the body such as peristalsis movement of the digestive tract, glandular functioning and heartbeats. The peripheral nerves are branched throughout the limbs and are connected with sensory organs. They lie outside spinal cord and brain.

 Diabetes Neuropathy feet

What causes Diabetic Neuropathy?

The nervous system and blood vessels are closely connected; changes in any one deeply affect the other and blood glucose is the deciding factor in both their well-being. Blood is a carrier tissue of the body, transporting dissolved salts, sugars and oxygen to the nerves. High blood pressure on the other hand strains the blood vessels, diminishing their strength. This in turn not only causes issues in blood circulation but also incapacitates the nerves’ ability to relay signals.

Following are the causes leading to developing Diabetic Neuropathy:

  • Alcoholism: Alcohol not only destabilizes the body’s natural ability to control blood sugar level but also impairs nervous responses. In the long run, it causes unstable blood sugar levels as well as impaired nervous system.
  • Smoking: Cigarettes contain nicotine among numerous other carcinogenic substances. Nicotine most notably deposits on the blood vessels, hardens the capillaries which in turn renders their ability to exchange nutrients.
  • Kidney Issues: Kidney problems pave way towards developing Diabetic Neuropathy. Kidneys are responsible for clearing the human body of excrements and act similar to water filtration plants. Without them, toxins flood into the bloodstream and damage both blood vessels and nervous system.
  • Genetics: Hereditary characteristics among other factors can leave certain individuals more vulnerable to developing Diabetic Neuropathy.
  • Chronic Diabetes: Patients who have been suffering from Diabetes for over 25 years are more susceptible to develop Diabetic Neuropathy.
  • Inflammation: Auto-Immune response of the body is characterized by the nervous system mistaking organs and parts of their own body for foreign contaminants, which results in “friendly fire’ among them. The body attacks itself, which causes inflammation of the nerves. Chronic Auto-Immune Disease also leads to development of Diabetic Neuropathy.

 

The 4 Categories of Neuropathy

The symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy often reveal themselves in the later stages of the disease, when irreversible damage has already been caused. Therefore, it is imperative to visit the doctors routinely because can identify signs of Diabetic Neuropathy before they become serious.

 

  1. Peripheral Neuropathy

Categorized as the most common form of Diabetic Neuropathy, it affects the arms, legs, hands, feet and toes. Common ailments are:

  • Loss of balance and muscular coordination
  • Heightened sensitivity to pressure
  • Sharp pangs of pain and cramps in muscles
  • Overall numbness in body; nervous responses desensitized to extreme temperatures and pain
  • Prickly, itchy and burning sensation across the body

 

  1. Focal/Mono Neuropathy

The effects of Focal Neuropathy are limited to certain areas of the body, usually afflicting the torso, legs and head. Characterized by sudden manifestation in senior adults who have a medical history of Diabetes, this form of Diabetic Neuropathy also happens to be painful in nature. Even so, the symptoms normally dissipate on their own gradually and involve very low percentage of causing long term damage. The symptoms include:

  • Pain in the chest, stomach or sides
  • Back and pelvic pain
  • Double vision
  • Thigh pains
  • Bell’s Paralysis
  • Pain in the chest and digestive tract

 

  1. Proximal/Radiculoplexus Neuropathy/Diabetic Amyotrophy

This category of Diabetic Neuropathy is characterized by pain in the hips, thighs and buttocks. The pain is unique in nature as it is mostly limited to only one side of body. Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the hips, thighs, legs and buttocks
  • Muscular Atrophy
  • Complications shifting from sitting to standing position

 

  1. Autonomic Neuropathy

Autonomic Neuropathy targets nerves which maintain normal heart rate, blood sugar and blood pressure. Damage to these nerves can cause critical health issues and directly affects the functionality of organs. The symptoms are inclusive of:

  • Weakened Bladder immunity
  • Constipation
  • Impaired vision
  • Slow changes in blood pressure
  • Hypoglycemia

Diabetes Test

Caution and Prevention are the Best Medicine

Like all forms of Diabetes, the best form of protection against Diabetic Neuropathy is controlling blood glucose level. This in turn controls neurological degradation and prevents onslaught of the disease. Even so, Diabetic Neuropathy is a dangerous disease which affects half of the people suffering from Diabetes and even controlling blood sugar levels is insufficient to keep it at bay.

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