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What is Diabetic Neuropathy?

Diabetic Neuropathy refers to nerve damage as a result of increased blood sugar levels from diabetes. Over time, this elevated blood sugar can damage your nerves. It is one of the complications from Diabetes, affecting your nervous system. Your nerves are vital to everyday life as they carry instructions from your brain to other parts of your body. These are often important functions such as sensation, movement, or control body functions. – like sweating or heart rhythm.
If you have Diabetes, your risk of having Diabetic Neuropathy is much higher. This further increases if you smoke, or drink excessively.

Depending on the nerves affected, Diabetes may result in an individual experiencing different neuropathies. These include:

  • Peripheral Neuropathy – affecting your extremities, most commonly affecting your feet and legs, sometimes your hands.
  • Autonomic Neuropathy – affecting the nerves controlling everyday functions, such as blood pressure, heart rate, sweating and digestion
  • Mononeuropathy – affecting one single nerve, such as in your legs, or your hands
  • Proximal Neuropathy – a disabling nerve damage leading to weakness in either the hips, thighs, or buttocks

Diabetes does not differentiate nerves, and individuals with Diabetes may suffer from multiple neuropathies at the same time.

What will I experience?

Your symptoms from neuropathy will differ depending on the type of neuropathy you experience. It is not uncommon for the symptoms to develop gradually over time. Generally symptoms include – but not limited to:

  • Loss of ability to feel in lower limbs
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Tingling sensations
  • Pins and Needles sensations
  • Burning Sensations
  • Pain in the extremities
  • Inability to sense temperature or pain

How can we help you?

There is currently no cure for Diabetic Neuropathy. Therefore, treatment often aims to prevent the worsening of neuropathy, treat complications from neuropathy, and prevent occurrence of these foot related complications from neuropathy.

Your Podiatrist will first conduct a thorough assessment of your feet. A visual assessment ensures that there are no injuries or damage to the integrity of the skin. Our Podiatrist can also notify you should there be any areas of concern and provide you with solutions to reduce the risk of any complications. A test with specific instruments can also help to establish the extent of damage to the nerves.

One of the ways to help with preventing secondary foot and lower limb complications from Diabetes is the use of custom foot orthotics to help diabetic patients remain active and mobile. Also, our Podiatrist will be able to help you with your skin and nail concerns to ensure that these problems are taken care off in a safe, pain free and effective way.

Speak with us to find out more on how we can help you!

FAQ

Can I prevent Diabetic Neuropathy?

Unfortunately, the risk of getting suffering from Diabetic Neuropathy increases with the duration of your Diabetes. There is no cure for it, but there are definitely things to do so that we slow down its progress and reduce its symptoms.

Be sure to maintain your blood sugar levels at an optimal level. Discipline with this helps reduce the risk of significant damage to the nerves. Managing your weight will also help with maintaining blood sugar level. Smoking cessation is also recommended because smoking affects blood flow, which increases the chance of developing other complications from diabetes.

It is recommended to have a visit to your Podiatrist once every 6 months to ensure that your foot is healthy. For patients that are at a lower risk, this need not be so frequent.