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What is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy? Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

What is diabetic neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy is damage to the nerves cause by diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy is of 4 types: Peripheral Neuropathy, Autonomic Neuropathy, Focal Neuropathy and Proximal Neuropathy.

What is peripheral neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is when there is nerve damage to the feet and legs and in some cases the hand. Peripheral neuropathy is mostly prevalent in people who find it difficult to manage their blood sugar levels.

Peripheral neuropathy treatment is important as nerve damage can cause problems with balance and coordination, which can even lead to falls and fractures.

Peripheral Neuropathy Causes:
High blood sugar levels and high amounts of fat (triglycerides) in the blood can damage the nerves and also the small blood vessels that nourish the nerves.
Other causes include:

  1. Alcohol Addiction: Poor dietary choices of people with alcoholism can lead to vitamin deficiency.
  2. Diabetes: A majority of people with diabetes have some kind of neuropathy
  3. Medications: Certain heavy dose medicines like those for cancer treatment can be a cause.
  4. Infections: Certain viral infections, bacterial infections or Hepatitis or HIV can in some cases lead to become a cause.
  5. Other diseases: Kidney disease, liver disease or underactive thyroid has in cases been identified as a cause for peripheral neuropathy.

Treatment of peripheral neuropathy hence becomes extremely important.

Symptoms & Risks of peripheral diabetic neuropathy:

The earliest sign of diabetic neuropathy usually includes: Numbness, pain in the feet or hands. Over a period of time, peripheral neuropathy symptoms may worsen leading to muscle weakness and loss of reflexes primarily around the ankle.
The loss of sensation in the feet can cause a reduction in the ability to detect wounds or pain.
Since there is a loss in sensation therefore diabetic foot care becomes even more essential as chances of foot problems and infection increase.

Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment:

Diabetic neuropathy treatment is ideally to reduce the discomfort and reduce further tissue damage.

  • Over the counter medication helps- In some cases you will inevitably need medication.
  • Manage blood sugar levels with managing what you eat and making sure you portion your consumptions.
  • Regular exercise is equally important, as sedentary lifestyle is the primary cause of diabetes in majority of people.
  • Diabetic socks, as they help protect the feet from ulcers, wounds or cuts leading to further infections and complications.
  • Foot care in diabetes is essential. Make sure you look out for orthopaedic footwear.

Diabetic neuropathy treatment can get tough at times and demands regular sugar monitoring. Keeping a glucometer with you can be helpful for monitoring and managing sugar levels on the go. Foot care in diabetes is also highly recommended, therefore invest in diabetic socks and neuropathy friendly footwear.

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