Diabetic neuropathy is a serious complication of both type-1 and type-2 diabetes which affects about 70 percent people with high blood sugar. It is a form of nerve damage stemming from uncontrolled sugar levels. The worst part of this disease is that it may not have any signs and symptoms in the first place and it develops slowly, sometimes taking over many years.
If you are already affected by high blood sugar and have symptoms like numbness, pain, weakness or tingling sensation in the hands or feet, you should report it to your doctor as early as possible. These are early signs of diabetic neuropathy, and therefore, you should not ignore them under any circumstances. In the case of severe and prolonged peripheral neuropathy, you are likely to experience infections or injuries in the extremities. In some cases, this may even pave the way for amputation while damage to other parts of the body can have other symptoms. That is why during a diabetic neuropathy treatment doctors recommend getting blood sugar testing done at regular intervals and contact your doctor if you have symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetic neuropathy is caused by persistent high blood sugar for a long period. Other factors can cause nerve damage including damage to the blood vessels due to high cholesterol levels. It can also cause mechanical injuries stemming from carpal tunnel syndrome and lastly by lifestyle issues like excessive alcohol use and smoking. Also, if you are suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency, you are likely to suffer from diabetic neuropathy. In such case, managing the symptoms of diabetes and uplifting the vitamin B12 levels should be your primary concern.
Your doctor can help in diagnosing and treating diabetic neuropathy along with any other nerve problems that you have been experiencing. Your doctor would ask you about your medical history, symptoms and the medications you are currently taking. During the physical examination, he will check your level of sensitivity and reflexes. Your heart rate, muscle tone, and blood pressure would also be monitored.
Sometimes, a filament test would be performed to determine the sensitivity of your feet to temperature, touch, and vibration. During this test, your doctor would use a nylon fiber for checking the limbs if there is any loss of sensation. He will also test ankle reflexes and use a tuning fork for testing your vibration threshold.
You will be given medicines for treating the pain and discomfort caused by diabetic neuropathy. You should not take any over the counter pain medications but talk to your doctor regarding which medicines would be most suitable for you and what can be their possible side effects. You may also consider some form of alternative therapies like acupuncture as one of the diabetic neuropathy treatment options.Some people report that alternative therapies can provide the desired relief when used in conjunction with medication. However, it is important that you try to lose weight to lower your blood sugar. For this, you will have to eat healthily, and always stay alert what includes in your diet.
Some people have digestion problems from diabetic neuropathy while others may have some other complications. For instance, if you have digestive issues, your doctor may ask you to take smaller meals at regular intervals. You should restrict the amount of fat and fiber in your diet as it will aid your diabetic neuropathy treatment. In case you are a woman suffering from vaginal dryness, your doctor may prescribe lubricants. Some men also have erectile dysfunction that needs to be treated with proper medication.
Diabetic neuropathy is the leading cause of leg amputations from non-traumatic events in the United States of America. If you are already affected by peripheral neuropathy, you must take a special care of your feet.
Check your feet on a regular basis to look for red blisters or any spot since you will not feel such formations due to lack of sensation. Keep the feet dry and clean and keep your toenails trimmed. You should visit your healthcare provider for getting your feet checked every time you visit your doctor.
Besides opting for the proper diabetic neuropathy treatment, you should also pay attention to preventing it. This disease can be prevented if you can manage the blood sugar levels in the right manner. You should be consistent in monitoring your blood sugar levels, managing the diet, taking proper medicines and indulge in physical exercises. It goes without saying that keeping your diabetes in check is the best diabetic neuropathy treatment. You should work closely with your doctor and follow all his instructions for slowing the progression of the condition even if you cannot reverse it.