Do you have diabetes? Have you recently experienced new symptoms, such as numbness and shooting pain? Are you losing your balance or feeling sore?
These issues might be a sign of diabetic neuropathy. It affects up to 70 percent of diabetics, causing sharp pain, loss of balance, and muscle weakness.
Researchers believe that diabetic neuropathy occurs when blood sugar levels stay high for too long. For this reason, diabetes patients need to constantly monitor their symptoms and follow a low glycemic diet.
Diabetic neuropathy symptoms tend to get worse over time. The sooner you detect them and receive treatment, the higher your chances of recovery.
Unfortunately, not all people experience symptoms, which can make diagnosis difficult. Many of them don’t even know they have diabetes.
Concerned about your health? Let’s take a look at the most common warning signs of diabetic neuropathy:
This disorder causes numbness in the limbs and other parts of the body. You may be unable to feel your hands or your feet while walking.
According to a study conducted on 4,400 diabetic subjects, more than half of them had neuropathy. A large number reported absent ankle reflexes or decreased sensation in the feet.
If you’re feeling numb for no obvious reason, see a doctor immediately. This is one of the primary diabetic neuropathy symptoms.
Unless you got injured, it’s not normal to experience shooting pain. For diabetics, this may be a symptom of neuropathy.
Many times, the pain is accompanied by cramping. It feels just like an electrical current that shakes your body from head to toe.
Loss of Reflexes
Diabetic neuropathy affects the nerve pathways responsible for processing external stimuli. This may lead to a loss of reflexes, especially in the ankle. Many sufferers can no longer feel their hands, arms, feet, or toes.
This health condition can damage one or more nerves. Some people lose their ability to feel pain, cold, heat, or injury. Any of these symptoms should send you to the doctor right away.
Have you ever heard about diabetic foot? It’s one of the most common diabetic neuropathy symptoms, causing changes in the foot shape.
Diabetes can damage the blood vessels, especially those in the feet. As a result, the bones of the foot and ankle become weaker. This leads to fractures, ulcers, and infection.
In the first stages, diabetics experience swelling of the foot. Some may also notice redness. If left untreated, these symptoms can get worse and cause serious injury.
The best way to prevent foot deformities is to check your feet and legs daily. Wear comfortable shoes and avoid prolonged sitting. See a podiatrist if necessary.
There are different types of diabetic neuropathy, and each has specific symptoms. It depends on what organ system is involved.
Diabetic autonomic neuropathy, for instance, tends to affect the digestive tract. Common symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and bloating. You may also experience urinary incontinence, difficulty swallowing or feeling full after eating small meals.
Since these symptoms are non-specific, they often go misdiagnosed. Regular check-ups can save your life.
Changes in Vision
Diabetic focal neuropathy causes damages to the eye and facial nerves. Those struggling with this condition often experience blurred vision or eye pain.
Without adequate treatment, you could lose your eyesight. Contact a health professional as soon as you notice any changes in vision. Early intervention is critical to your recovery.
Diabetes can affect your sex life too. Many sufferers experience erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, and inability to orgasm.
The problem is that most people rarely speak about these issues, which only makes things worse. If you have diabetes and experience sexual problems, tell your doctor about it.
These are just a few of the many diabetic neuropathy symptoms. This condition may also lead to urinary problems, dizziness, muscle waste, and low blood pressure.
Some people experience loss of consciousness when standing up quickly. Some notice that their heart beats too fast. Others are unable to empty their bladder when urinating.
Once you’re diagnosed with diabetes, keep an eye on your symptoms. Diabetic neuropathy is a life-threatening condition. Proper treatment can prevent further damage and increase your lifespan.
What Causes Diabetic Neuropathy Symptoms?
The exact cause of diabetic neuropathy is unknown. Experts believe that prolonged exposure to high glucose levels may be the culprit. Glucose affects the nervous system in ways that are still not fully understood.
This health condition has more than one cause. Several factors are involved in its development, such as:
- Microvascular disease
- Sensorimotor polyneuropathy
- Advanced glycated end products (AGEs)
- Vitamin B deficiency
- Chronic liver disease
- Alcohol consumption
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal blood lipids
- Certain medications
High triglyceride levels, for instance, have been shown to cause nerve damage. This may increase your risk of diabetic neuropathy.
This nutrient aids in the production of certain enzymes that regulate metabolism. It also supports brain function, wards off depression, and promotes cardiovascular health.
Since it’s mostly found in animal foods, vegans and vegetarians are more likely to develop a deficiency.
If you don’t eat meat and fish, take vitamin B12 supplements. This small step can boost your health and improve diabetic neuropathy symptoms.
Other risk factors for this condition include aging, genetics, and high cholesterol levels. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking and drinking, play a role too.
Keep Diabetic Neuropathy under Control
Neuropathy is one of the most common diabetes complications. Luckily, most risk factors associated with it are modifiable.
Even if you already have this condition, you can manage its symptoms through lifestyle changes. Simple steps, such as quitting smoking and ditching the sugar, can make all the difference.
Don’t wait until it’s too late! Contact a neuropathy specialist to receive expert help.
Our team has been successfully treating this condition since 2000. Call us today for a free screening!