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What is Diabetic Neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder usually seen as a complication of diabetes. It produces symptoms in only the hands and feet. Almost 50% of the diabetic population have diabetic neuropathy, and it is more likely in long-standing cases of diabetes. Maintaining your blood glucose level will help prevent the disorder.

Diabetic neuropathy can be of following types:

  • Peripheral neuropathy that causes tingling, pain, or numbness of the hands and feet
  • Autonomous neuropathy that affects the nerves controlling your body system
  • Focal neuropathy that affects a single nerve in the hand, leg, head, and torso
  • Proximal neuropathy, a rear type, affects the nerves of the hip, buttock, or thigh. It affects one side of the body and rarely affects the other side. It causes severe pain and significant weight loss.

What are its main signs and symptoms?           

The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy vary depending upon its type.

In case of peripheral neuropathy, following symptoms are experienced:

  • Loss of sensation in the feet or burning or shooting pain
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Increased sensitivity to touch

Since autonomous neuropathy affects the nerves of the internal organs, its symptoms include:

Focal neuropathy affects a single nerve and the following symptoms are noted based on the nerve that gets affected:

What are its main causes?

The exact reason for diabetic neuropathy is not yet clear. However, few factors that are responsible include

  • Increased blood glucose levels causing chemical changes in the nerves, damaging nerves and the blood vessels that carry nutrition to these nerves.
  • Diabetic neuropathy can also be inherited due to genetic traits.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

After the complete physical examination, your doctor may

  • Check muscle strength and reflexes
  • Check sensitivity of the muscle to position, vibration, temperature, and light touch
  • Request for the additional tests to be done, such as electromyography, nerve conduction studies, ultrasound, and nerve biopsy.

The treatment depends on the age, health, and medical history of the patient. Pain and discomfort of the patient are treated with pain-relieving medicines. Antidepressant medicines, topical creams, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation therapy, relaxation therapy, and acupuncture are used to prevent additional damage to the nerve.

  1. Medicines for Diabetic Neuropathy
  2. Doctors for Diabetic Neuropathy
Dr. Tanmay Bharani

Dr. Tanmay Bharani

एंडोक्राइन ग्रंथियों और होर्मोनेस सम्बन्धी विज्ञान

Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra

Dr. Sunil Kumar Mishra

एंडोक्राइन ग्रंथियों और होर्मोनेस सम्बन्धी विज्ञान

Dr. Parjeet Kaur

Dr. Parjeet Kaur

एंडोक्राइन ग्रंथियों और होर्मोनेस सम्बन्धी विज्ञान

References

  1. American diabetes association. Additional Types of Neuropathy. Virginia, United States. [internet].
  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases [internet]: US Department of Health and Human Services; What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?
  3. American diabetes association. Neuropathy (Nerve Damage). Virginia, United States. [internet].
  4. Oregon Health & Science University. Diabetic neuropathy. Portland, Oregon. [internet].
  5. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases [internet]: US Department of Health and Human Services; Diabetic Neuropathy

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