Did you know that “60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy” (Dyck, 2013). That is a lot of people to be affected by a disorder. What all do you need to know about this condition?
Diabetic neuropathies are a group of different nerve disorders that affect the body and are caused by diabetes (Dyck, 2013). Over time, people with diabetes can develop one of these conditions. There are sometimes symptoms such as pain, a tingling sensation, or numbness in different limbs. Other times, there will be no symptoms whatsoever.
Diabetic neuropathy can occur in any of the organ systems in our body. Most of the time, neuropathies take a long time to develop. Therefore, the highest rate of people with a neuropathy has had diabetes for over 25 years.
Diabetic neuropathy also occurs in people who have trouble keeping their blood glucose levels inside of the target range. It is best to check your blood sugar regularly to help you manage it.
Also, people who are overweight or have a lot of fat can develop neuropathies overtime. High blood pressure is also a big indicator.
Normally, diabetic neuropathies are caused by a multitude of factors. Peter Dyck lists metabolic factors, neurovascular factors, autoimmune factors, mechanical injury to nerves, genetics, and lifestyle choices (Dyck, 2013).
Metabolic factors like high blood sugar levels, excess body fat, being overweight or obese, and having diabetes over a long period of time are one of the major causes of neuropathy, but it is not the only cause.
Damage to the nerves can be done through blood vessels that have been damaged by diabetes. Also, inflammation or nerves can be a factor. As well as disabilities like carpal tunnel syndrome can cause diabetic neuropathies.
A person can “inherit traits that increase susceptibility to nerve disease” (Dyck, 2013). Finally, smoking is a big cause of diabetic neuropathies as well as drinking alcohol.
There are four main types of diabetic neuropathies. They are called peripheral, autonomic, proximal, and focal. These affect different areas of the body in different ways.
Diabetic neuropathies can cause several symptoms. Some common symptoms are tingling, numbness, or pain in different parts of the body. Some places where you might experience these are the “toes, feet, legs, hands, arms, and fingers” (Dyck, 2013).
You might experience nausea and vomiting. Others experience indigestion. Diarrhea is common as well as constipation.
Dizziness, faintness, erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, problems with urination, and overall weakness are all symptoms that can come from diabetic neuropathies (Dyck, 2013).
However, some people who have a neuropathy never experience any symptoms.
Normally, these symptoms will develop overtime and can go unnoticed for long periods.
It is important that you keep in touch with your doctor, so you will be able to provide proper care to your body.
Doing things like managing blood sugar and exercising regularly can help a lot with prevention. I would also suggest eating a healthy diet, low on trans fats, because it can help you cut excess body fat and possibly lose weight.
Dyck, P. J. (2013). Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathies). The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/nerve-damage-diabetic-neuropathies