Diabetic Neuropathy

Learn the Danger Signs

What is diabetic neuropathy?

black and white image of a woman holding her heel, which is glowing red from pain

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve pain that can show up a decade or more after the onset of diabetes. Every diabetic needs to watch for signs of diabetic neuropathy, which can be subtle at first but can eventually be debilitating or even fatal.

What are the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy?

The first symptom to be noticed is often problems with the extremities, such as tingling, numbness and pain in the feet or hands. The pain may increase and spread to other parts of the body. As the disease advances, problems may include heartburn, lightheadedness, swallowing problems, heartburn, bladder and sexual problems, and diarrhea or constipation.

How will I know if I have diabetic neuropathy?

Your symptoms, combined with a physical exam and specific neurological tests your doctor may order, will confirm the diagnosis.

What are the causes of diabetic neuropathy?

Blood vessels and nerves can degenerate from extended abnormally high blood sugar. Abnormally high blood sugar and decreased blood flow together cause diabetic neuropathy.

How can I prevent diabetic neuropathy?

person holding hand that is in painGood control of blood sugar levels through diet, exercise or medication is vital to help prevent the progression of the disease. The closer you can keep blood sugar to normal levels, the better you can prevent diabetic neuropathy.

How is diabetic neuropathy treated?

Maintaining good control of blood glucose levels in order to slow down or stop blood vessel and nerve degeneration is the primary objective. Care for the feet and watching them for injuries and ulcers is also extremely important. The pain of neuropathy can be dealt with through painkillers advised by your doctor and with soothing remedies such as baths, swimming and low-impact exercise.

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