Can I Prevent Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy can often be avoided if you manage your blood glucose vigilantly. To do this, be consistent in:
If you do develop diabetic neuropathy, work closely with your doctor and follow their recommendations for slowing its progression. With proper care, you can reduce the damage to your nerves and avoid complications.
What Is Diabetic Neuropathy
Neuropathy is a complication of diabetes that can lead to problems throughout the body. Diabetes can affect nerves that control movement, sensation and other functions.
If you have diabetes, you can develop nerve problems at any time. Sometimes, neuropathy can be the first sign of diabetes. Significant nerve problems can develop within the first 10 years after a diabetes diagnosis. The risk of developing neuropathy increases the longer you have diabetes. About half of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy.
How Is Peripheral Neuropathy Diagnosed
The bewildering array and variability of symptoms that neuropathies can cause often makes diagnosis difficult. ;A diagnosis of neuropathy typically includes:
- Medical history.; A doctor will ask questions about symptoms and any triggers or relieving factors throughout the day, work environment, social habits, exposure to toxins, alcohol use, risk of infectious diseases, and family history of neurological diseases.
- Physical and neurological exams. A doctor will look for any evidence of body-wide diseases that can cause nerve damage, such as diabetes. A neurological exam includes tests that may identify the cause of the neuropathic disorder as well as the extent and type of nerve damage.
- Body fluid tests. Various blood tests can detect diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, liver or kidney dysfunction, other metabolic disorders, infections and signs of abnormal immune system activity. Less often other body fluids are tested for abnormal proteins or the abnormal presence of immune cells or proteins associated with some immune-mediated neuropathies.
- Genetic tests. Gene tests are available for some inherited neuropathies.
Additional tests may be ordered to help determine the nature and extent of the neuropathy.
Physiologic tests of nerve function
Neuropathology tests of nerve appearance
Radiology imaging tests
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When Diabetes Leads To Nerve Damage
Nerve damage caused by uncontrolled blood sugar is a serious complication of diabetes. Find out how to protect yourself.
Tingling, numbness, pain in the arms, legs, hands, or feet these are all common signs of diabeticneuropathy, or nerve damage. Up to 70 percent of people with diabetes will develop some type of neuropathy, making it one of the most common side effects of this disease.
Diabetes: Understanding Neuropathy
Although tingling, numbness, or pain in the extremities are common signs of neuropathy, others may experience no symptoms at all. Nerve damage can also occur in internal organs, such as the heart or digestive tract. Diabetes-related neuropathy can affect muscle strength, sensation in various parts of the body, and even sexual function.
People who develop diabetic neuropathy are typically those who have trouble controlling their blood glucose levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, and body weight. Although researchers haven’t quite figured out exactly why this happens, they know that neuropathy can occur due to:
- Alcohol use and smoking
- Injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Nerves that become inflamed related to autoimmune conditions
- Neurovascular issues that damage the blood vessels responsible for bringing nutrients and oxygen to your nerves
Your risk also increases the older you get and the longer you have diabetes, with the highest rates of neuropathy occuring in people who have had diabetes for at least 25 years.
Diabetes: Where Neuropathy May Strike
Caring For Your Hands And Feet
Diabetic nerve damage causes pain and can also affect your ability to feel pain, so its important to maintain your foot health.
To take better care of your feet, check your feet every day for cuts, sores, swelling, and other problems, even if you dont feel any pain there. They can get infected, and untreated infections can lead to serious complications, including amputation.
Wash your feet daily with warm water, and dry them completely afterward. Then apply a lotion to keep them moisturized. Avoid getting lotion in between your toes.
Wear comfortable, flexible shoes that give your feet room to move. Break in new shoes slowly so that they dont hurt your feet. Ask your doctor about customized shoes if regular shoes dont fit well.
Always cover your feet with shoes, slippers, or thick socks to cushion them and prevent injuries.
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Improving Other Risk Factors
Although getting blood glucose under control is important, it might not be enough. It is also important to control other risk factors such as high triglycerides or cholesterol, treat high blood pressure and quit smoking. Daily aerobic exercises are shown to protect the nerves and improve neuropathy outcomes. Losing weight is also important if a patient is obese or overweight.
How Does Long Term Antidepressant Use Affect The Nervous System
Insofar as I am aware, there is not a lot of evidence for any damaging long-term effects of common antidepressants on the adult nervous system . It is important to remember that the effects of stress and depression on the nervous system are numerous â but it is currently not accepted that antidepressants also damage the nervous system . A well-controlled study measuring this is very difficult to do, though, and so things may change. Having said that, it is accepted that antidepressant drugs do cause changes in the brain that counteract the brain changes associated with depression . . More generally, antidepressant drugs work by increasing levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain . In many people, this chemical change causes them to perceive the world in a slightly less negative light â ambiguous feedback is received more positively, someone forgetting to reply to their email is interpreted less personally. *However* â and this is a CRUCIAL point â antidepressant drugs are powerful pharmaceuticals and can cause serious side effects in some people, like all drugs. For some people, they are life-savers; for others, extremelContinue reading >>
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Stop Smoking And Limit Or Avoid Consumption Of Alcohol
Health begins with what you put in your body. Tobacco products in any form inhibit the bodys healing response and narrow already challenged blood vessels. Alcohol has a similar effect on the immune system, dampening the bodys response to infection.
Some people are able to consume a daily glass of red wine or two, but talk to your doctor. In acute stages of infection, avoid alcohol.
Types Of Diabetic Nerve Pain
There are four main types of diabetic neuropathy.
- Peripheral neuropathy: the most common type. Causes pain or numbness in the toes, feet, legs, fingers, hands or arms.
- Autonomic neuropathy: affects the nerves that are not under voluntary control. Causes changes in blood pressure, digestion, perspiration, bowel, and bladder control and sexual response.
- Proximal neuropathy: the nerves of the thighs, hips, or buttocks are affected leading to weakness in the legs.
- Focal neuropathy: damage is localized to one nerve or a particular group of nerves resulting in sudden weakness or pain to a certain area of the body.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Peripheral Nerve Damage
Symptoms are related to the type of nerves affected.
Motor nerve damage is most commonly associated with muscle weakness. Other symptoms include painful cramps, fasciculations and muscle shrinking.
Sensory nerve damage causes various symptoms because sensory nerves have a broad range of functions.
- Damage to large sensory fibers harms the ability to feel vibrations and touch, especially in the hands and feet. You may feel as if you are wearing gloves and stockings even when you are not. This damage may contribute to the loss of reflexes . Loss of position sense often makes people unable to coordinate complex movements like walking or fastening buttons or maintaining their balance when their eyes are shut.
- The small fibers without myelin sheaths include fiber extensions called axons that transmit pain and temperature sensations. Small-fiber polyneuropathy can interfere with the ability to feel pain or changes in temperature. ;It is often difficult for medical caregivers to control, which can seriously affect a patients emotional well-being and overall quality of life. Neuropathic pain is sometimes worse at night, disrupting sleep. It can be caused by pain receptors firing spontaneously without any known trigger, or by difficulties with signal processing in the spinal cord that may cause you to feel severe pain from a light touch that is normally painless. For example, you might experience pain from the touch of your bedsheets, even when draped lightly over the body.
How Is Diabetic Neuropathy Diagnosed
A doctor will determine whether or not you have neuropathy, starting by asking about your symptoms and medical history. Youll also have a physical examination. Theyll check your level of sensitivity to temperature and touch, your heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tone.
Your doctor may do a filament test to test the sensitivity in your feet. For this, theyll use a nylon fiber to check your limbs for any loss of sensation. A tuning fork may be used to test your vibration threshold. Your doctor may also test your ankle reflexes.
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Diabetes Nerve Damage: More Pain At Night
Previous research has shown that people with rheumatoid arthritis often experience worse pain when they wake up than at other times of the day; people with osteoarthritis have worse pain at night.
To begin to investigate whether the pain of diabetic peripheral neuropathy also has a daily pattern, researchers recruited 647 people who reported they’d been diagnosed with the condition.
For seven days, participants kept a diary recording the intensity of their pain every three hours, starting at 8 a.m. They were asked to rate their pain on a 10-point scale, where 10 equals the worst pain imaginable.
The average age of the participants was 54, and 58% were female. Nearly all were taking prescription or over-the-counter pain medication.
Results showed that average pain scores were highest at 11 p.m. and 8 p.m., when they were 4.65 and 4.53 points, respectively. They dropped to their daily low at 11 a.m., when they averaged 4.21 points.
The association between worse pain and evening hours remained after factors such as age, gender, and other health conditions were taken into account.
Still, the difference between the lowest and highest pain scores was too small to draw any firm conclusions, researchers say.
How To Avoid Diabetic Neuropathy
About one-third to one-half of people with diabetes have some kind of nerve damage, reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases .
Anyone with diabetes can get nerve damage at anytime, explains Dr. Bolash. There is an association with very high levels ofblood sugar and the development of diabetic neuropathy, but the two do notalways go hand in hand.
Unfortunately, even patients with very mild cases ofdiabetes may be affected with severe cases of nerve pain, he says, while otherscan be spared.;According to the NIDDK, the highest rates of nerve damageare among people who have had diabetes 25 years or longer.
To avoid diabetic neuropathy, Dr. Bolash advises:Control your blood sugar;;and keep it as close to nondiabeticlevels as possible.
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Causes Of Diabetic Nerve Pain
Diabetic neuropathy is damage to your nerves caused by complications of diabetes. Regardless of which type of diabetic nerve damage you have, the causes are the same.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases explains that diabetic neuropathy results from high levels of blood sugar and high levels of blood triglycerides, or a type of fat or lipid. There are two main ways that glucose and triglycerides cause diabetic neuropathy and the resulting pain.
Treatments For Gastrointestinal Problems Caused By Diabetic Neuropathies
Eating small and frequent meals that are low in fat and fiber may help relieve symptoms such as belching, indigestion, flatulence, nausea or vomiting caused by damage to the nerves supplying the gastrointestinal tract.
Medications such as erythromycin and metoclopramide may help speed the passage of food through the gastrointestinal tract and metoclopramide can also help relieve nausea. Other medications may be prescribed to reduce stomach acid secretion or control diarrhea.
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What Does Diabetic Nerve Pain Feel Like 11 Common Symptoms
Diabetes is a complex chronic condition that comes with a host of symptoms if not properly managed. One of the most complicated and challenging symptoms to treat is diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Also referred to a peripheral neuropathy or diabetic foot pain, this complicated condition requires thoughtful diagnosis and comprehensive treatment. What is peripheral neuropathy, and what does diabetic nerve pain feel like? Heres what you need to know.
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What Does Diabetic Nerve Pain Feel Like
So what does diabetic nerve pain feel like? There are many symptoms, including early onset symptoms that may be mild and challenging to diagnose. Diabetic neuropathy symptoms usually begin in the toes and work their way towards the head.
The first symptoms you may experience are tingling and numbness in the toes or fingers. This may resemble the feeling of pins and needles when a foot that has fallen asleep begins to wake up. You may also experience cramping in the feet, poor reflexes, and poor balance or coordination. Some people experience hypersensitivity and feel painful sensations with the slightest touch .
In one of the few visual symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a person may develop what is known as a hammertoe. This foot deformity causes the toes to begin to curl under and develops as a result of unconscious modification of the gait due to pain or other symptoms.
As the condition progresses, symptoms become more pronounced and more challenging to treat.
Mechanism Of Pain In Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Pain is one of the most adverse outcomes of diabetic peripheral neuropathy. It significantly reduces the number of activities of daily living and reduces the quality of life. Pain is an unpleasant felling perceived by our brain for many harmful stimuli. Stimuli are transferred via the nerves and when the neuron circuit is malfunctioning it can lead to false stimuli and can cause various pain syndromes. Read for more information about;The Neuropathy Solution or see our review.
The causes for many pain syndromes differ from each other and the pathology may be presented in various parts of the peripheral nervous system. It can include nerve branches, nerve terminals, Axons, Synapses, Spinal cord and associated nerve tracts and peripheral neuronal ganglions. These convey the messages to pain center and activate the pain. It is more pronounced in patients with uncontrolled, long term severe hyperglycemia. There are many treatments for the pain but the main stay remains as good glycemic control.
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What Are Some Risks If I Dont Get Treatment
Diabetes-related foot pain is more than just pain; its a warning sign from your body. This type of nerve pain can lead to complications if you dont see a doctor and get treated. Below are some of the problems that can come from untreated diabetes nerve pain:
Dry, cracked skin. This may not sound too bad, but when your skin is too dry, your risk of getting skin infections goes up. If this happens, plain petroleum jelly or unscented hand creams can help. Just avoid placing moisturizers between your toes.
. This is an area of thickened skin that has less feeling. People with diabetes get calluses faster and more often than those without diabetes. You can use a pumice stone daily to help keep them at a minimum. If they get really thick, a doctor can cut or shave them down. Never attempt to do this at home as it can lead to infections.
Ulcers. These are sores that happen to some people with diabetes due to poor blood circulation. All ulcers need to be seen by a doctor. The longer you go without seeing a doctor, the more likely it is that it will become infected. Infected ulcers can spread and cause you to lose your foot or leg.
Amputations. If the previously listed complications are not treated properly, they can all become infected. Skin infections can cause the skin and muscle tissues to die. Once this happens, it cant be fixed. The only way to stop the infection from continuing to spread is by amputating the infected limb.
Where In The Body Does Diabetic Radiculoplexus Neuropathy Occur
Diabetic radiculoplexus neuropathy may occur in the cervical or lumbosacral distributions and is referred to in the literature by various designations, including diabetic amyotrophy, Bruns-Garland syndrome, and diabetic plexopathy. The most frequent initial symptom is sudden, severe, unilateral pain in the hip/lower back or shoulder/neck. Weakness then develops days to weeks later. Atrophy of the limb musculature may occur. Allodynia, paresthesias, and sensory loss are common.
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