Diabetic neuropathy is a common form of nerve damage often found in patients with diabetes. When patients experience high blood sugar, it can lead to full-body injuries, but most often, it occurs in the feet and legs. Whether you already have diabetes or are at-risk, understanding the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy is important to your daily health and long-term well-being.
There Are Four Types Of Diabetic Neuropathy
This form of neuropathy is most common among people living with diabetes. It generally begins in the lower extremities and works upward. Symptoms include muscle weakness, imbalance, increased sensitivity to touch, lack of coordination, numbness, cramps, tingling, burning, severe bone and joint pain, and foot ulcers.
Patients with autonomic neuropathy experience symptoms in the heart, urinary tract, and digestive system including areas like the stomach, blood vessels, urinary tract, and male and female anatomy. You may experience symptoms like heartburn, bloating, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, fullness after meals, low blood pressure, blackouts, dizziness, rapid heartbeats, incontinence, and an increase in nighttime urination.
This form of neuropathy occurs in the legs, hips, thighs, and buttocks which is often present in older patients or those with Diabetes Type 2. You may also experience symptoms that begin on one side of the body and may move to the other. Symptoms include pain, weight loss, weakness, loss of thigh muscles, abdominal swelling, and difficulty standing.
You will experience this form of neuropathy in the face, torso, back, pelvic area, legs, and eyes. Unlike the other forms, this one may have a sudden onset of symptoms that lead to severe forms of pain, difficulty seeing, pain behind your eye, and Bell’s palsy.
What Causes Neuropathy?
Medical professionals and researchers are unsure of the cause for each of the four conditions although the inability to control blood sugar and the long-term, untreated diabetic condition disrupt the normal signal transfer between nerves which they believe leads to diabetic neuropathy. There is also a disruption of the normal function of the walls of the capillary blood vessels as high blood sugar weakens them and blocks the absorption of nutrients and oxygen.
Am I At Risk?
There are indications that risk factors like genetic markers, autoimmune response, and the use of alcohol and tobacco further aggravate the nerves which raise the risk of illness and disease. Other risk factors include a history of diabetes, kidney disease, and abnormal weight.
When Should I See A Doctor?
Controlling your blood sugar will delay and even prevent diabetic neuropathy as well as the serious complications of diet noncompliance. That said, it is important to see a doctor if:
- You have diabetes.
- You have an infection on a lower extremity that does not heal.
- Have pain, burning, dizziness, weakness, or tingling in your extremities.
- Experience a change in digestion, sexual behaviors, and urinary practices.
If you suffer from any of these medical issues, we recommend a health check-up. Please schedule an appointment online or call your local Maryland Pain and Wellness Center.