There are a lot of complications that are associated with diabetes. If your sugar levels are left unchecked, they can damage other organs of your body such as eyes, brain, heart, skin, etc. Diabetic Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur with prolonged diabetes. You need to identify its symptoms and take all the necessary measures to prevent the situation from aggravating. Before we discuss its symptoms let’s first know its types-
Types of Diabetic Neuropathy
This is the most common type of diabetic neuropathy. It affects the feet and legs first, and then moves to the hands and arms. Signs and symptoms usually become worse at night, and may include:
- Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or changes in temperature
- Burning sensation
- Sharp and sudden pains or cramps
- Increased sensitivity to touch
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of reflexes, especially around the ankle
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Foot problems such as ulcers, infections, and joint pain.
The autonomic nervous system controls the heart, bladder, stomach, intestines, other organs and eyes. Diabetes can affect nerves in any of these areas, and possibly lead to:
- A lack of awareness that blood sugar levels are low
- Bladder problems, including urinary tract infections
- Constipation or uncontrolled diarrhoea and in some cases both
- Slow digestion causing nausea, vomiting, bloating and loss of appetite
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Increased sweating or decreased sweating
- Problems in controlling body temperature
- Changes in eye adjustment from light to dark
- Increased heart rate even when at rest
- Sudden drops in blood pressure after sitting or standing that may cause you to feel lightheaded
Radiculoplexus Neuropathy (Diabetic Amyotrophy)
Radiculoplexus neuropathy affects nerves around the thighs, hips or legs. It’s more common in people who have type 2 diabetes and in older adults.
Symptoms can usually be found on one side of the body, but sometimes may spread to the other side.
- Severe pain in hips and thighs or buttocks
- Eventual weak and shrinking muscles
- Difficulty rising from position after a long time
- Abdominal swelling
Most people improve partially over time, though symptoms may worsen before they get better.
Mononeuropathy is damage to a specific nerve around the face or leg. It is most commonly found in older adults. Mononeuropathy often strikes suddenly and can cause extreme pain. However there are no long-term problems.
Symptoms depend on the nerve that is involved, and may lead to
- Shin or foot pain
- Lower back or pelvis pain
- Chest or abdomen pain
Common Diabetic Neuropathy Symptoms
The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are dependent on which type of diabetic neuropathy you have and which all nerves are damaged. For many people, the first and foremost symptom is pain and tingling in the feet, legs, arms, and hands. Gradually, as more nerves are damaged, the symptoms can become more severe. Symptoms in general may include:
- Pain and numbness
- Inability to feel temperature (hot or cold)
- Wasting of muscles of the hands and feet
- Indigestion, nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhoea and constipation
- Dizziness or faintness due to a drop in blood pressure
- Problems with urination
- General weakness
Causes of Diabetic Neuropathy
Even though the exact cause is not known, it is most likely because of a number of factors like:
- Nerve Injury
- Autoimmune Factors
- Genetic Factors
- Metabolic Factors
The above-mentioned signs and symptoms don’t always mean you have nerve damage. But it can be a sign of another condition that may require medical attention. It is best to be aware of the changes in your body and consult a healthcare professional if need be. Also, invest in a glucometer that can help you assess your sugar patterns from the comfort of wherever you are.
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