What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy is the damage to the nerves of the body in people who have diabetes. The condition develops gradually and worsens over the course of time. Susceptible people usually have high blood pressure, overweight, and high blood cholesterol. In addition, those who cannot control their blood sugar levels lean toward diabetic neuropathy.
Neuropathy can affect the nerves outside the skull, the ganglia, and the spinal cord. Also affected, the nerves which control the functioning of vital organs, like bladder, stomach, heart, and intestines. Additionally, it affects the nerves which control the periphery or outside of the body like the hands and feet. Finally, it affects the automatic functions of the body like digestion or your heart rate can develop problems. In fact, diabetic neuropathy can affect any part of the body. Pain Care Clinic of Idaho can help diagnose and treat your diabetic neuropathic problems. Simply call us at (208) 629-2492, we can assist you to recover or gain much improvement.
Types of Diabetic Neuropathy
Consider the four main types of neuropathy:
1. Autonomic neuropathy
This the second most common type of nerve damage. It affects the nerves which control involuntary actions of the body, such as sweat glands, digestive system, sex organs, bladder, and heart rate. Neuropathy of the digestive system causes trouble swallowing, gastroparesis and constipation. Furthermore, it can cause erectile dysfunction in men and vaginal dryness in women. Neuropathy in the bladder can make it hard to empty the bladder fully. People with autonomic neuropathy can also have hypoglycemia causing heart palpitations and sweating which makes it hard to know when blood glucose levels are too low.
People with type 2 diabetes may have reduced blood pressure after standing from sitting, making them feel light-headed or dizzy.
2. Focal neuropathy
Damage occurs in groups of nerves or to one particular nerve, causing weakness of the area and is very painful. Focal nerve damage can affect the upper body, legs or head. This type of nerve damage disappears in weeks or months without leaving extensive consequences, unlike other types of nerve damage. Symptoms include: double vision, focus inability, pain in: stomach, lower back, chest, thigh, pelvic region, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
At Pain Care Clinic of Idaho–(208) 629-2492, we know exactly how to handle these kinds of challenges. Just put a call through to us and let our specialists handle the rest.
3. Peripheral neuropathy
This occurs when the nerves which detect temperature and touch are damaged. It affects the hands and feet. This is the most common type of diabetic neuropathy. Additionally, the mild to severe symptoms, occurring mostly at night, include: burning sensation, cramping or pain, numbness, insensitive to cold and hot temperatures. Also, muscle weakness and reflex losses can lead to changes in balance and mobility. Nerve damage and poor blood circulation in people with diabetes makes it hard for wounds to heal. (Which causes more risk of complications from foot injuries.)
4. Proximal neuropathy
This is not common but seen in older adults with type 2 diabetes. It affects the legs, hips, and thighs. This type of nerve damage causes inability to stand after sitting without being helped. It is always painful.
Causes of Diabetic Neuropathy among People with Diabetes
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause Neuropathy.
Long time exposure to a higher level of glucose can damage the nerves, thereby causing neuropathy. High levels of blood fat called triglycerides and their toxic by-products can cause nerve damage. Good glucose control in type 1 diabetes people can lower nerve damage by 60%. In addition, controlling lipid levels can lower the cause of neuropathy in people with type 2 diabetes.
Other factors which cause diabetic neuropathy:
- Smoking or alcohol
- Vitamin B deficiency
- Carpal tunnel syndrome – Mechanical or repetitive movement injury
- High blood pressure
- Low level of vitamin B12
Diagnosis of Diabetic Neuropathy
The specialists at Pain Care Clinic of Idaho–(208) 629-2492 will carry out a physical examination and foot examination for the following:
- Knees and ankle reflexes
- Responses of legs and feet to stimuli like touch, movement, temperature, and pain
- Color changes
- Changes in skin texture
- Test to know thiamine and vitamin B1 levels
- Finally, check of blood pressure, heart rate variability, and ultrasound.
If the physician suspects diabetic neuropathy, then, the patient will undergo diagnostic tests like Nerve Conduction Velocity test which record the speed of the induced signal in the nerves. Also Electromyogram, which records the electrical activity of the muscles.
Treatment of Diabetic Neuropathy
Especially relevant, managing cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and controlling blood sugar help prevent nerve damage. The treatment of diabetic neuropathy focuses on controlling the symptoms and reducing the pain.
Certain drugs can control diabetic neuropathy pain. These include anticonvulsant drugs, opioid-like drugs, and tricyclic antidepressants like serotonin-norepinephrine inhibitors.
Physical Therapy with drugs can reduce pain and the drug dependency. Physical therapists help people with muscle weakness and muscle cramps. They also reduce the burning sensation in the feet and legs. Electrical nerve stimulation can relieve foot ulcers and the feeling of stiffness.
People who use a prosthesis due to loss of a limb as a result of diabetic neuropathy can undergo Gait training. This ‘relearning’ how to walk helps to prevent foot complications. You can get Gait training from Pain Care Clinic of Idaho by calling (208) 629-2492. Additionally, topical lotions and supplements will also provide relief.
Our massage therapist at Pain Care Clinic of Idaho–(208) 629-2492 can offer regular massages which stretch the muscles. Exercises, such as aerobics or swimming, can maintain muscle strength. Additionally, patients can regain foot sensitivity using high-frequency sound waves to stimulate the tissue under the skin surface (called therapeutic ultrasound).
Prevention of Diabetic Neuropathy
Some tips to reduce the risk of diabetic neuropathy:
- First of all, maintain a healthy weight for your height
- Likewise, exercise regularly
- Also, control fat levels and blood pressure via lifestyle and diet changes where necessary
- Then, control blood glucose levels
- Additionally, visit a physician regularly if you have symptoms of numbness and pain.
Half of the people with diabetes develop neuropathy. It affects the nerves of the feet causing pain and discomfort, which could lead to complications if left untreated. So, where can you get help? Visit us at Pain Care Clinic of Idaho, or call: (208) 629-2492 to discuss your diabetic neuropathy.