A Primer on Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes is a common long-term disease that affects millions of people in the US. Itoccurs when the body stops responding well toinsulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels or produces it in low amounts. As a result, glucose is abnormally high, causing symptoms like extreme thirst, excessive urination, fatigue, and visual disturbances.

Though the illness is chronic, it’s manageable with the help of proper medications, dietary changes, and physical exercises. But, in some cases, diabetes can lead to serious complications when blood sugar levels remain high for a long period. One effect is neuropathy, a condition that affects the nerves. Learn more about it by reading on.

What Diabetic Neuropathy Is

This condition develops over time with sustained, excessive amounts of blood glucose. Too much sugar destroysneurons and theblood vessels that supply nutrients to these cells.

Depending on the severity of the damage and the affected areas, a person experiences symptoms such as muscle weakness, sharp pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in their body. Their perception of heat and cold is also changed, so they’re more susceptible to injuries.

Its Types

Diabetic neuropathy is classified into 4 types based on the site of damage:

  • Autonomic – This kind results from the malfunction of the autonomic nerves, which control regulatory processes. They connect to the heart, lungs, intestine, stomach, and other internal organs. In effect, the person may have other symptoms besides muscle ache, like constipation, diarrhea, and rapid heart rate.
  • Focal – In focal neuropathy, the affected area is a single or group of nerves, which is usuallyin the hand, head, foot, leg, or torso. Someone can get carpal tunnel syndrome with this condition. Other possible sites of damage include the chest, eye, stomach, thigh, and pelvic region.
  • Peripheral – The most common type, peripheral neuropathy occurs when the damage is located in the nerves that transmit signals to the body from the brain and spinal cord. The person experiences mild or severe discomfort in theirfeet and legs. Their hands and arms can be affected, too.
  • Proximal – The rarest kind, proximal neuropathy concerns the nerves in the buttocks, hips, or thighs. It usually occurs only on one side of these parts. The injury makes sitting and standing difficult.

How It’s Treated

The treatment of neuropathy depends on its classification. If one has an autonomic condition with digestive symptoms, they’ll be given specific medications for easing constipation or diarrhea, along with general ones for blood sugar control. Patients should consult a doctor pursuing exponential technologies in diabetes CE(continuing education) to learn the best way to manage their illness.

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