What is it?

Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of both type 1 and 2 diabetes. After many years of high levels of blood sugar, it causes nerve damage that begins in the legs and feet. Risk factors may include poor blood sugar control, kidney disease, obesity and smoking. The development of the condition is slow, and usually it progresses through decades. The danger in this situation is that because of the nerve damage, the patient will not feel pain of ulcers. If there is a prolonged peripheral neuropathy, the patient may be vulnerable to injuries or infections, alongside poor wound healing may lead to leg amputation. Other areas besides the legs may also be affected by this condition such as the bowel. There are four types of neuropathy; peripheral neuropathy is the most common type that affects the legs first and then the arms and hands. Autonomic neuropathy can cause hypoglycemia unawareness, bladder or bowel problems, gastroparesis, vomiting, loss of appetite and decreased sexual response. Proximal neuropathy affects the nerves in the thighs, hips, buttock, legs, abdominal and chest.In mononeuropathy (cranial or peripheral) a specific nerve is damaged in the eye, the face, fingers or hand.

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Signs & symptoms

Diabetic neuropathy symptoms vary depending on the areas affected and on the severity of the condition. Symptoms may include a pins and needles sensation in the feet, sensitivity to touch, loss sense of touch, numbness, burning sensation that worsens at night, muscle weakness, bloating, nausea, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness when standing up, bladder problems, vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction, hypoglycemia unawareness, vision trouble and increased heart rate.

Diagnosis

Diabetec neuropathy is diagnosed upon finding from medical history and physical examination- sensitivity to touch and temperature,vibration, reflexes, heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tone. A filament test can also be done to check for feet sensitivity. Nerve conduction testing measures the speed of electrical signal conduction .

Treatment

Treatment of diabetec nephropathy includes keeping blood sugar level balanced and blood pressure under control with medication, active lifestyle and diet. For treating nerve pain, medications include anti- seizure drugs and antidepressants. Other alternative treatments for pain relief may include capsaicin, alpha-lipoic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, acupuncture and Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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