Diabetes and neuropathy

Neuropathy, one of the most serious and common complication of diabetes, can be prevented and managed.

Diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage, is one of the most common complications of unmanaged diabetes. Neuropathy is a very serious complication and it can put you at risk for further complications if not managed properly. That’s why it is very important to prevent it and to recognize the symptoms early.

About 60-70 percent of people with diabetes have mild-to-severe forms of neuropathy. There are certain factors that will increase your risk for developing diabetic peripheral neuropathy. These factors are age, numbers of years you have been living with diabetes, and poor blood sugar managements.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some symptoms of neuropathy may include:

  • Numbness, burning or tingling in your hands, legs, or feet that can occur gradually.
  • Shooting pains, burning or tingling
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea
  • Problems with sexual function
  • Incontinence
  • Lack of coordination that could lead to falling
  • Dizziness when you change positions quickly

Neuropathy because of diabetes can occur anywhere in the body. However, the first nerves to be affected are the long nerves in your hands and legs. That’s called peripheral neuropathy.

Symptoms of neuropathy may include tingling, numbness, burning sensation and pain. One of the problems of neuropathy is that symptoms can develop slowly and the person may have the condition without knowing it.

The good news is that neuropathy can be prevented and its progression can be slowed down by managing your diabetes. You can manage your diabetes by making healthy lifestyle changes that will help you keep your blood sugar in control. You can also manage peripheral neuropathy if you have it by taking good care of your feet since the nerves of your feet are the first once to get damaged.

For more information about diabetes and foot care, please read the following articles:

Keeping your feet healthy

Diabetes and foot care

Foot health awareness

Controlling your weight and blood glucose by exercising and eating a healthy diet in addition to not smoking can help you prevent and manage neuropathy. For more information on making healthy lifestyle changes, visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

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