Diabetic Foot FAQs: Diabetic Neuropathy
Did you know that high levels of blood sugar in your body can injure nerve fibers? Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage can occur in those suffering from diabetes. The damage can occur throughout your body, but most commonly, diabetic neuropathy damages nerves in your feet and legs.
Symptoms- Peripheral neuropathy is the most common type of neuropathy affecting diabetics. The symptoms may include increased sensitivity, numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in your feet and legs, muscle weakness, loss of balance, or infections/ulcers in your feet.
Causes- Diabetic neuropathy is caused when persistent high blood sugar damages nerve fibers. High blood sugar can weaken the capillaries and interfere with the nerves ability to transmit signals. Genetics, smoking and alcohol abuse and autoimmune responses can also contribute to diabetic neuropathy.
Treatment- Diabetic neuropathy cannot be cured. Therefore, slowing progression of the disease and managing the complications is imperative. To help slow nerve damage, the Mayo clinic recommends maintaining blood pressure and sugar levels at recommended levels, maintaining a healthy weight, stopping smoking and getting plenty of physical activity. Exercising proper foot care is also critical as diabetic neuropathy is a leading cause for loss of limbs. Diabetics should wear appropriate diabetic shoes to prevent cuts and sores, because the risk of infections is high due to the fact diabetes reduces blood flow to your feet. We also recommend adding orthopedic inserts to your shoes for added protection.
See your doctor if you have a cut or sore on your foot that doesn’t seem to be healing or is infected, or if you experience burning, tingling, or pain in your feet that interferes with your daily routine. Infection of the foot is the leading cause of amputation, so wearing appropriate footwear and prevents cuts/blisters is extremely important when managing diabetic neuropathy.