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Diabetic Neuropathy is a Dysfunction of Peripheral Nerves

Updated on January 1, 2014

Diabetic neuropathy is a term used to refer to a number of nerve disorders that occur due to the diabetes. Figures estimate that almost 60 to 70% of people who have diabetes are likely to suffer from diabetic neuropathy during the course of their lives. Diabetic neuropathy can affect three sets of nerves, the autonomic nerves, the motor nerves, and the peripheral nerves. The autonomic nerves are the nerves that are responsible for performing involuntary actions inside the body, such as sweating. The peripheral nerves are nerves that are located inside the arms, hands, legs, and feet and the motor nerves control the muscles and provide them with strength.

Diabetic Neuropathy is a condition

Diabetic neuropathy is a condition that does not emerge overnight. Instead, it develops slowly, taking years before showing its full effects. Therefore, people suffering from diabetes for a longer period of time are more likely to suffer from neuropathy than the people who have not had the disease for long. Moreover, sometimes, diabetic neuropathy does not show any symptoms and this makes it quite hard to identify it, especially in the initial stages. The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy range from a tingling feeling, burning, pain, and a loss of sensation of the areas affected.

Most people believe that diabetic neuropathy occurs as a result of the dysfunction of the peripheral nerves. However, this belief is not true as peripheral neuropathy is itself a product of diabetic neuropathy and not the other way around. Even though diabetic neuropathy is more likely to affect the peripheral nerves, areas such as the arms and feet, it is still quite common to find people who have their autonomic or motor nerves affected by this condition. Therefore, it is important to discuss each type of neuropathy so that the confusion that so many people suffer from regarding this condition can be clarified.

Peripheral Neuropathy:
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy affects areas such as the arms and feet. For people who suffer from this type of neuropathy, the symptoms experienced range from numbness and tingling to a loss of perception in the most extreme cases. However, in most cases, people cannot judge the symptoms of this type of neuropathy by themselves. It is often doctors who, after performing several tests, can find out whether a person is suffering from peripheral neuropathy or not.

Since peripheral neuropathy is more than likely to affect the legs and the feet before it affects the arms and hands, below are a few tips to keep this condition in check and prevent it from worsening:

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Avoiding Diabetic Neuropathy

Keep your Feet Clean
One of the most important aspects in keeping peripheral neuropathy in check is to take care of the feet. The key is to keep your feet clean, using warm water and a mild soap, without soaking the feet. After having cleaned the feet, always remember to dry them off completely so that there is no moisture left.

Keep your Feet Checked
People who get cuts or blisters in their feet cannot feel them due to the numbing effects that peripheral neuropathy has. Therefore, it is important to inspect the feet before going to sleep every night and check them for any cuts or blisters. Inspecting the feet is highly necessary because even the most minor of cuts can become major issues if not dealt with properly. In the most extreme cases, these cuts and bruises can even lead to amputations.

Wear Slippers Indoor
Another helpful tip in keeping the feet free from any injuries is to wear shoes or slippers even while indoors. There can be objects lying around the house which, when stepped on, can cause cuts and bruises.

Autonomic Neuropathy
Autonomic neuropathy affects the nerves that regulate blood pressure, control the heart, and keep the blood glucose levels in check. In addition, this type of neuropathy also affects other internal organs, leading to issues with digestion, urination, respiratory function, and vision.

There are various tips to keep autonomic neuropathy in check, and these have been listed below:

1. Proper Diet
For mild symptoms, doctors recommend consuming a proper diet that includes small but frequent meals throughout the day. In addition, these foods should be low in fat, and high in fiber.

2. Medications
Doctors can also prescribe medication to help with digestive issues.

3. Antibiotics
For urinary issues, doctors can prescribe antibiotics to clear up infections in the urinary tract. Drinking a large number of fluids can also help prevent any further infections.

Motor Neuropathy:
This is a rare muscle disorder that leads to muscle weakness. The rate of progression and the severity of the issue vary from person to person. Compared to other types of neuropathies, motor neuropathy is the toughest to deal with as it is difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat.

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