November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. At Neurology Office, we want to do our part in educating the community on how diabetes impacts neurological health. With diabetes impacting over 30 million Americans today, it is imperative to know the severe complications that arise from this condition.
With this in mind, if you are not living with diabetes, you likely know someone who is currently managing this chronic disease. In this article, Dr. Kandel answers the questions; how diabetes can lead to nerve damage, what are the symptoms, and what are some ways to prevent this disease from having a negative impact on your life.
One common issue patients often are diagnosed with is diabetic neuropathy, also referred to as diabetic nerve damage. The more you know about the signs of diabetic neuropathy, the more you will be able to prevent permanent nerve damage for yourself or your loved ones.
Diabetes & Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage caused by diabetes. This complication impacts over 50% of patients who have diabetes. This nerve disorder can be associated with digit and limb amputation, hearing and vision loss, kidney issues, dementia, and some forms of cancer.
Commonly targeting the legs and the feet, symptoms associated with diabetic neuropathy include distortion of sensation in the toes and feet, debilitating pain and numbness, and possibly permanent nerve damage.
Never Ignore These Symptoms
It is common that because of the nerve dysfunction caused by diabetes, many patients may not recognize many of the earliest symptoms associated with this disease. It is important to pay attention to even the slightest alteration of sensation in the toes and feet, as this may be the earliest sign of this disease.
Prevention is critical when addressing diabetes, and every moment counts in recognizing symptoms and treating them.
Contact your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms associated with these four common types of diabetic neuropathy:
Peripheral Neuropathy: Impacts Feet, Legs, Hands and Arms
Symptoms: Tingling, burning sensations. Painful sensitivity to touch. Loss of reflex and balance issues. Numbness. Reduced temperature awareness.
Autonomic Neuropathy: Impacts Stomach, Heart, Bladder, Eyes & Sex Organs
Symptoms: Constipation, bladder problems. Increased resting heart rate. Sharp drops in blood pressure. Difficulty swallowing. Erectile dysfunction.
Large Nerve Root Damage: Impacts Hips, Thighs, Buttocks
Symptoms: Difficulty rising from a seated position. Weight loss. Severe pain that lasts for more than one day.
Mononeuropathy (isolated single nerve twig damage): Impacts specific target areas in the Face and Torso
Symptoms: Sharp pains. Double vision. Aching behind one eye. Paralysis on one side of the face. Carpal tunnel.
Prevent Damage & Maintain a Healthier You
When noticing these symptoms, the first step is to record them in detail. Visit your neurologist who can help you address key pain points, perform nerve testing, check laboratories, and devise a treatment plan for you. Effective treatment measures include blood sugar maintenance, proper foot care, a nutritious diet plan, and moderate physical therapy. Coupled with medication, as well as some supplements and nutrients, this can make a world of difference in managing pain and preventing further nerve damage; this can prevent a decline in lifestyle.
If you know someone who is living with diabetes, feel free to share this article to increase awareness.
If you have any questions related to diabetic neuropathy or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the Neurology Office for more help.
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