Diabetes can fatally harm the nerves of a human body and painful damage is called ‘neuropathy’. The only way to prevent it in a diabetic patient is to manage one’s blood sugar levels with the help of doctors.
Diabetes-related neuropathy has four arms – peripheral, autonomic, proximal, and focal – and often damages nerves in the legs and feet
A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine in the US found that India has one of the highest prevalence of type-2 diabetes mellitus in the world and the main cause can be attributed to poverty that leads to poor foot hygiene, improper footwear, and frequent barefoot walking that results in foot infections and gangrene are a common cause of hospital admissions.
Clinically, diabetic neuropathy is a destructive disease of the peripheral nerve that leads to symptoms of pain or paraesthesia or problems arising from neurological deficit. It can also cause problems with the digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart.
Diabetic neuropathy is a serious diabetes complication that may affect as many as 50% of people with diabetes. But you can often prevent diabetic neuropathy or slow its progress with consistent blood sugar management and a healthy lifestyle.
What is Peripheral neuropathy
Also known as distal symmetric peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy affects the feet and legs first, followed by the hands and arms. Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are often worse at night, and may include numbness or reduced sensation of pain or feel temperature changes; a feeling of tingling or burning feeling and sharp pains or cramps. Besides, peripheral neuropathy can cause muscle weakness, extreme sensitivity to touch, ulcers in foot, bone and joint damage.
The autonomic nervous system controls blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, eyes, bladder, digestive system and sex organs. Diabetes can directly affect nerves in these areas. Once a diabetic patient gets autonomic neuropathy, they may get bladder or bowel problems, drop in blood pressure while standing up or sitting down, gastroparesis, nausea, vomiting, sensation of fullness and loss of appetite, changes vision and profuse/ diminished sweating. Even changes in sexual response, such as vaginal dryness in women and erectile dysfunction in men, can be felt.
Proximal neuropathy (diabetic polyradiculopathy)
It often affects nerves in the thighs, hips, buttocks or legs, abdominal and chest area and symptoms are felt usually on one side of the body, but may also spread to the other side. It’s symptoms include: severe pain in hip or thigh; weak thigh muscles; difficulty in moving from one position; chest or abdominal wall pain.
Mononeuropathy (focal neuropathy)
It refers to damage to a single, specific nerve. The nerve may be in the face, torso, arm or leg and may lead to difficulty in vision, paralysis on one side of the face, numbness or tingling in the hand or fingers, weakness in the hand that may result in dropping things, pain in the shin or foot,