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Diabetic Neuropathy Is A Dysfunction Of The Peripheral Nerves

Updated on September 11, 2014

Affecting around 131 million (1.9% of the total population) people globally, Diabetic Neuropathy is a disorder of the nerves which happens to people suffering from Diabetes. The high blood glucose or blood sugar levels in the body associated with Diabetes tend to damage the nerves and with the progression of time, this damage keeps getting worse. Although some people may not feel the symptoms at all, others usually feel a sharp tingling or burning sensation anywhere from the upper to the lower extremities of the body, depending on the nerves that have been affected. The pain resulting from the damage done to the nerves is strong. More often than not, the pain experienced can have a big impact on the functionality of the nerves too.


While Diabetic Neuropathy is generally referred to as a dysfunction of the peripheral nerves, it actually involves other nerves as well. People tend to categorize Diabetic neuropathy as a dysfunction of the peripheral nerves due to the latter being the most common type of Diabetic neuropathy. However, the dysfunctionality of peripheral nerves is only one of the many branches. Here are some other types of Diabetic neuropathy:

Peripheral Neuropathy

The most common type of Diabetic neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy affects around 60 to 70% of all Diabetic Neuropathy patients. This disorder damages the peripheral nerves, caused either by physical damage, trauma, or most commonly, Diabetes

Symptoms
Most people who suffer from peripheral neuropathy report feeling a tingling sensation or loss of feeling in their hands and feet. While the level of pain may vary, the pain usually decreases with time.

Causes
The most common causes of Peripheral neuropathy include:

  1. Alcoholism
  2. Autoimmune diseases
  3. Diabetes
  4. Exposure to poison
  5. Infections
  6. Inherited disorders
  7. Trauma
  8. Physical injury
  9. Tumor
  10. Vitamin Deficiency
  11. Infections

The numbness of the nerves arising from peripheral neuropathy may make people more susceptible to infections. As pain cannot be felt, injuries can go untreated and as a result turn into dangerous infections.

Treatments

Natural remedies
Several natural remedies exist that have been known to help relieve the pain caused by peripheral neuropathy. Heat therapy, application of ice, and massages are some of the natural remedies used by people to treat peripheral neuropathy.

Medication
Pain relieving drugs such as pain killers and heat sprays not only help relieve the pain, but also provide an effective treatment for peripheral neuropathy.

Anti-depressants
Although these are used for treating depression, recent studies have shown that anti-depressants are also beneficial for pain relief.

Autonomic neuropathy
Referring to the damage done to the autonomic nerves, Autonomic neuropathy is not a specific disease; rather, it includes a variety of conditions. In this disorder, the damage to the autonomic nerves serves to disrupt the flow of signals between the nerves and the brain, sweat glands, heart, and blood vessels.

Symptoms
The symptoms of autonomic neuropathy vary from person to person, depending on the severity of the disease. Generally though, the symptoms include sexual difficulty, urinary problems, problems in digestion of food, sweating problems, slow pupil reaction, and intolerance to exercise.

Causes
Autonomic neuropathy includes a wide variety of possible causes and the most common ones are:

  1. Unusual protein buildup
  2. Diabetes
  3. Autoimmune diseases
  4. Physical injury
  5. Drug reaction
  6. Infections
  7. Genetic disorders

Life-threatening diseases
If left untreated, autonomic neuropathy can be really detrimental to health and put people at the risk of contracting various threatening diseases such as Diabetes, HIV AIDS, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.

Identification of the core cause
The first step to treating Autonomic neuropathy involves identifying the disease or disorder at the helm of the cause. For instance, if diabetes is identified as the root cause, then controlling blood sugar levels should be the right approach. Also if an individual does not possess the qualifications or expertise to reach out to the root cause, a doctor or professional can always be referred to for proper guidance.

Medications
Based on the diagnosis, doctors may prescribe certain medications to patients such as:

Anti-depressants
May be used to treat diarrhea and ease stomach pain.

Medications for easing constipation
Several pain reliving drugs are prescribed by doctors to help ease constipation ensuing from Autonomic neuropathy.

Medications for sexual dysfunction
Drugs such as Viagra, Levitra and Cialis can aid in maintaining an erection for males

Altering the diet
Treating Autonomic neuropathy often requires making certain changes to the diet. Increasing the fiber intake as well as the amount of fluids being consumed are some of the changes that can be made to the diet.

Retraining the bladder
Increasing the intake of fluids can help retrain the bladder and make it more used to the increased intake.

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