- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Diabetic Neuropathy Affects More Than The Feet
Neuropathy In Diabetis
Did you know there are different kinds of diabetic neuropathy?
If you have diabetes, chances are you have at lease one form or another. Some have no symptoms. Others have pain, tingling or numbness in their arms hands or feet. Neuropathy can occur in any organ, in any part of the body. Between 60 to 70% of diabetics have some form of neuropathy.
Peripheral Neuropathy the one most people are aware of and affects the extremities; toes, feet, legs, hands and arms.
Autonomic Neuropathy that affects the heart, sweat glands, eyes, lungs, urinary and digestive tact and sex organs.
Proximal Neuropathy affects the buttock, hips thighs and legs
Focal Neuropathy that affects the face, lower back, abdomen, chest, feet legs, and pelvis
Neuropathy is a family of various nerve disorders caused by diabetes. Risks factors include :
- The length of time you have had diabetes (25 years or longer)
- Your age (the older you are the more likely you are to get it)
- People who have blood glucose problems, high levels of blood fat or high blood pressure.
- And of course your weight
To better understand Neuropathy in Diabetes
. . . and for those of you who prefer listening to reading, Dr Aaron Vinik M.D., PhD, Professor of Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School and Director of Strolit Dibetic Research Institute gives a 6 minute overview of the scope of neuropathy in diabetes.
Factors In The Causes Of Diabetic Neuropathy
The National Diabetic Information Clearinghouse(NDIC) gives this list for causes for Diabetic Neuropathies:
The causes are probably different for different types of diabetic neuropathy. Researchers are studying how prolonged exposure to high blood glucose causes nerve damage. Nerve damage is likely due to a combination of factors:
- metabolic factors, such as high blood glucose, long duration of diabetes, abnormal blood fat levels, and possibly low levels of insulin
- neurovascular factors, leading to damage to the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to nerves
- autoimmune factors that cause inflammation in nerves
- mechanical injury to nerves, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- inherited traits that increase susceptibility to nerve disease
- lifestyle factors, such as smoking or alcohol use
- Symptoms of nerve damage may include
- numbness, tingling, or pain in the toes, feet, legs, hands, arms, and fingers
- wasting of the muscles of the feet or hands
- indigestion, nausea, or vomiting
- diarrhea or constipation
- dizziness or faintness due to a drop in blood pressure after standing or sitting up
- problems with urination
- erectile dysfunction in men or vaginal dryness in women
Neuropathy is diagnosed based on a number of symptoms during your regular physical exam at the doctor’s office. Among the indicators are your blood pressure readings, heart rate, reflexes, temperature and muscle strength.
If there are question in diagnosing, tests your doctor may run are:
- ElectromyographyA check of the transmission of electrical current through a nerve to show how well muscles respond to electrical signals. These tests are rarely needed to diagnose neuropathy.
- Heart rate variability Check
- Ultrasound toshow how these organs preserve a normal structure
To better understand what is going on, listen to this short 2 min video about the nerves and diabetes.
Beware of Complacency
Because diabetes is so common in today's society and neuopathy a normal affect of it, many get lax in their care of it. Diabetes is a terrible disease, and requires your diligence in managing it.
Monitoring blood sugars, blood pressure and weight is important. Be consistent in going to the doctor for check-ups. Watch for signs of neuropathy throughout the body, and understand nerve damage can happen in other places than just the feet. Be aware that depression is also an effect of diabetes and take steps to deal with it when it comes.
Laugh a lot. And work to maintain a positive attitude.
Remember:you are in charge.
Symptoms that are not due to neuropathy, but often accompany it, include weight loss and depression.
Impressive research data has been submitted showing promise for relief from foot neuopathy with no side effects or interference with medical treatment of your diabetes has been published by Michael Weintraub (New York Medical College Department of Neurology and Medicine, and lead academic in the study) in the American Journal of Pain Management in January 1999.
You can read more about it at this Hub: Important Study For Those With Diabetic Foot Neuropathy