Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy 101

Diabetes affects every part of the body, and when the body battles long-term elevated blood sugar levels, diabetics can find themselves with a host of issues as a result. One issue is limb problems, the most serious of which can be diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Here is what you need to know:

What Is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is essentially nerve damage. Because diabetic peripheral neuropathies can manifest themselves in different ways, in different areas of the body, the exact cause may vary. It can result from elevated glucose levels and irregular blood fat levels. It can also be correlated to the length of time that one has been a diabetic. Some people aren't even aware they have untreated diabetes until they visit a podiatrist for foot problems.

Damaged blood vessels will also result in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This can be exacerbated by smoking and a diet high in fat as well as obesity and excess alcohol usage. Damaged blood vessels are unable to efficiently carry nutrients and oxygen to an incredible 90,000 miles of nerves that run throughout the human body. The diabetic can also have other underlying medical conditions as a result of their diabetes, inherited genetic disorders, or things such as injury or wear and tear of the joints, as is the case with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?

Some people have no symptoms at all, which may sound like a good thing, but it can actually be very dangerous if their nerves are not letting them know there is a problem. Others have symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation that can be quite painful in the extremities. This can affect the arms, hands, and fingers, the legs, feet, and toes, or both. There can also be a weakness in the limbs, which can be particularly dangerous if the legs are weak and give out, potentially causing falls. The nerve damage can cause impotence in both men and women, as well as chronic constipation and urinary incontinence. Skin ulcers may also occur from the depleted oxygen and nutrient supply, which sometimes leads to amputation, especially of the foot or toes.

How Is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Treated?

While there is no cure, it is important to see both your endocrinologist as well as a podiatrist regularly to keep potential problems at bay. Most diabetics with diabetic peripheral neuropathy also see a neurologist. There are various medications that can be prescribed depending on the exact nature of the problem.

Contact a diabetic foot care service for more information and assistance.