What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy pain is a type of nerve damage that can occur as a complication of diabetes. The areas of your body most commonly affected by diabetic neuropathy are your feet and legs.

Causes & Risk Factors

  • Approximately 50% of people with diabetes will develop nerve damage. Most of the time, symptoms do not appear until 10 to 20 years after diabetes has been diagnosed.
  • Prolonged exposure to high blood sugar (glucose) can damage delicate nerve fibers, causing diabetic nerve pain.
  • Poor blood sugar control, kidney disease, and the length of time a person has diabetes can cause nerve damage.
  • Smoking and alcohol abuse can contribute to the development of diabetic nerve pain.

Symptoms

Diabetic neuropathy symptoms can range from pain and numbness in your extremities to problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels, and heart. For some people, the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are mild; for others, the condition can be painful, disabling, and even fatal. Symptoms can develop slowly, over several years, and can vary depending on the affected nerves. Other symptoms of diabetic neuropathy nerve may include (but is not limited to):

  • NUMBNESS, TINGLING, OR PAIN IN THE TOES, FEET, LEGS, HANDS, ARMS, AND FINGERS.
  • INDIGESTION, NAUSEA, VOMITING, DIARRHEA, OR CONSTIPATION.
  • HANDS AND FEET MUSCLE WASTING.
  • LIGHTHEADEDNESS, DIZZINESS, OR WEAKNESS DUE TO A DROP IN BLOOD PRESSURE.
  • ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION IN MEN; VAGINAL DRYNESS IN WOMEN.
  • URINATION PROBLEMS.

Diagnosis

  • Diabetic neuropathy is diagnosed based on the patient’s range of symptoms and a physical examination. During the exam, blood pressure, heart rate, muscle strength, reflexes, and sensitivity to vibration, temperature, touch, and position changes may be tested. Blood tests may also be taken.
  • Nerve conduction studies or electromyography (EMG) can help determine the type and extent of nerve damage.

Treatment Options

At PMIR Medical Center, we understand that pain is a complex condition that affects the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. We are dedicated to providing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to pain treatment, customizing the most effective treatment plans for our patients, and empowering them to become collaborative partners in their recovery process.

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