What is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?
Diabetes and chronic high blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage which is called peripheral neuropathy. This condition causes loss of sensation and numbness in the hands, legs or feet. In fact, peripheral neuropathy is a common symptom of diabetes and about 65% of diabetics develop it. The key to preventing nerve damage is to control blood sugar levels.
Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
As mentioned earlier, chronic high blood sugar levels can damage nerves all over the body. As a result, you may lose the ability to feel pain, cold or heat in your hands, legs or feet. Sometimes, the patient may suffer a sore or cut in their foot, or even develop a ulcer due to ill-fitting footwear, and frighteningly they may not know about it all. The ulcer can deteriorate and lead to amputation or even death.
Symptoms of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
The early and common symptoms are:
- Pain which could be stabbing, sharp, buzzing or pinching
- Burning sensation
- Prickling feeling
- Pins and needles sensation
- Tingling feeling
- Sensitivity to touch
These symptoms can worsen at night.
Changes due to Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
- Muscle Weakness: Nerve damage due to high blood sugars can cause muscle weakness. The patient may feel difficulty doing simple things like getting up or walking. They may have trouble grabbing things and carrying them in their hands.
- Balance problems: Muscle damage can make it difficult for the patient to walk steadily. They may feel unsteady and uncoordinated when they try to walk.
- It is difficult for the doctor to detect peripheral neuropathy because diabetes can cause many complications. So, if you feel pain in your foot or hand, take it seriously and consult a doctor at the earliest.
Foot Care to Prevent Neuropathic Pain
As mentioned earlier, loss of sensation in the feet and heels is dangerous because it can cause an ulcer or infection leading to amputation as you may not even be aware of the injury. If you are a diabetic, follow these tips to take good care of your feet:
- Clean your feet every day and inspect them closely for any ulcer or sore that doesn’t look normal.
- Wear comfortable shoes. You can buy special shoes for diabetics that provide extra care for your neuropathic feet.
- Buy and wear socks that have extra padding.
- Keep your toenails trim and do not worry about spending to get a pedicure at a podiatrist as your good health is well worth the money.
For useful information on how to reverse diabetic peripheral neuropathy, please watch this video: