Diabetic neuropathy is damage to the nerves brought about by diabetes. Usually affecting the nerves in the legs and feet, high sugar levels in the blood can harm or injure nerve fibers in the long run. Diabetic neuropathy presents a host of symptoms, depending on which nerves are affected. Some may feel pain and numbness in the extremities, while others may have problems concerning the urinary tract, digestive system and even the heart. Some cases of diabetic neuropathy are mild, but there are instances too when the condition is extreme and potentially life-threatening.
A common but very serious complication of diabetes, diabetic neuropathy can be prevented. Even if a person already has it, the progression can actually be controlled. Taking diabetic neuropathy seriously is of utmost importance. That because several complications may arise from it. Some of them include:
• Digestive problems – constipation, diarrhea, nausea, bloating and loss of appetite
• Sexual dysfunction – inability to obtain an erection in men and problems with lubrication in women
• Urinary tract issues – incontinence and urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common
• Limb amputation – severe wound infection and gangrene may cause a limb to be amputated
• Charcot joint – inflammation and deformity of a joint brought about by nerve damage
• Low blood pressure – this is due to the damage to the nerves that regulate blood circulation
• Abnormal body temperature regulation – the condition may lead to increased or decreased sweating
There are a handful of medical and natural treatments for diabetic neuropathy, although there is really no known cure for it. The goal is to provide pain relief and to restore the functioning of the affected limbs. It is also very important for any treatment plan to include management of the complications and slowing down the disease’s progression.
In dealing with pain caused by nerve damage, there are several medications that may be prescribed by a doctor. However, most of them can cause unfavorable side effects, so it’s very important for the patient as well as the doctor to weigh the pros and cons of the intake of these medications. It is not uncommon for someone with diabetic neuropathy to be given anti-seizure medications or antidepressants.
Physical therapy and acupuncture are some treatments that may work effectively for some who are afflicted with diabetic neuropathy. Most of the time, they are sought in conjunction with medications provided by a doctor. However, it’s possible for the said treatments to work on their own for some people.
When it comes to the complications of diabetic neuropathy, there are also many different medications and other treatment options available. For instance, there are medications that may be prescribed for someone who is suffering from sexual dysfunction or low blood pressure due to diabetic neuropathy.
Lifestyle changes can considerably help in maintaining normal blood sugar levels, thus keeping diabetic neuropathy in check. Through regular monitoring of the blood sugar levels and carrying out the necessary actions, it is very much possible to delay the progression of or even prevent diabetic neuropathy.
Following a healthy eating plan and exercising on a regular basis can help in controlling blood sugar levels, blood pressure and weight. Cigarette smoking should be ditched as well as excessive consumption of alcohol. It is imperative for anyone with diabetes and diabetic neuropathy to follow the foot care recommended by a doctor to avoid complications such as wound infection, gangrene and amputation.
Taking vitamin B supplements may also be very helpful for someone with diabetic neuropathy. B vitamins are essential for the growth and repair of the nerves. Studies have shown that individuals with diabetic neuropathy also showed signs of deficiency in B vitamins. It’s important to consult a doctor for the right dosage that can benefit the condition.