Learning about Diabetic Nerve Damage-4 Areas That Will Impact Your Life may just save it…
This Nerve Damage, also called Diabetic Neuropathy, is a common complication of diabetes. It is damage to the very nerves that allow you to feel sensations such as pain.
There are a number of ways diabetes damages the nerves, but they’re all related to your blood glucose (sugar) being too high for a long period of time.
Diabetic nerve damage can be painful, but the pain is not severe in most cases. There are, however, cases that go undetected for a long time… mainly because we tend to ignore what feels like “little aches and pains” while we live our busy lives.
However, the damage continues to build, and this is where exercise enters the picture.
No topic is more important when learning about Diabetic Nerve Damage-Four Areas That Will Impact Your Life than exercise. It could save your life.
Exercise is one of the major keys to preventing or managing diabetic nerve damage.
Exercise provides huge benefits for diabetics.
- It helps lower blood sugar levels
- It helps the body use insulin.
This means that people with Type 1 Diabetes who exercise regularly may need less insulin. And people with Type 2 Diabetes who exercise may be able to control their diabetes without medication.
In addition to the above, exercise lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke and helps reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol.
There are four types of diabetic nerve damage-four areas that will impact your life in particular:
1. Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
The feet and legs are the areas most commonly affected by Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy,
Diabetic nerve damage in the feet can result in a loss of foot sensation, increasing your risk of foot problems.
- Injuries and sores on the feet may go unrecognized due to lack of sensation. It is extremely important for diabetics to practice good foot care.
Rarely, other areas of the body such as the arms, abdomen, and back may be affected, but it does happen.
Symptoms of diabetic nerve damage
- Numbness (severe or long-term numbness can become permanent)
- Burning (especially in the evening)
In most cases, early symptoms of diabetic nerve damage will lessen when blood sugar is under control. Medications are available for control of discomfort if needed.
To prevent peripheral neuropathy:
- Work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar under tight control
To help prevent the complications of diabetic nerve damage:
- Examine your feet and legs daily.
- Apply lotion if your feet are dry.
- Care for your nails regularly (Go to a podiatrist, if necessary. I can’t stress this enough.)
Ignoring these symptoms in your feet can lead to amputation later on.
- Wear properly fitting footwear and wear them all the time to prevent foot injury.
2. Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy
Diabetic autonomic (which means “involuntary”) neuropathy most often affects the digestive system, especially the stomach, blood vessels, urinary system, and sex organs.
To prevent autonomic neuropathy, continuously keep your blood sugar levels well controlled.
Symptoms of diabetic autonomic neuropathy of the digestive system may include:
- Feeling full after small meals
Treatments for autonomic neuropathy of the digestive system may include:
- Eating smaller meals
If the blood vessels are involved (diabetic autonomic neuropathy of the blood vessels) symptoms may include:
- Blacking out when you stand up quickly
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Feeling full very early on during meals
Treatments for autonomic neuropathy of the blood vessels may include:
- Avoiding standing up too quickly
- Wearing special support stockings
Symptoms of autonomic neuropathy of the male sex organs may include:
- Inability to have or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- “Dry” or reduced ejaculations
Note: Impotence needs to be evaluated by your doctor. It may be caused by your medicines or factors other than diabetes.
Treatments for autonomic neuropathy of the male sex organs include:
- Penile implant
- Vacuum erection device
- Penile Injections
Symptoms of autonomic neuropathy of the female sex organs may include:
- Decrease in vaginal lubrication
- Decrease in number of orgasms or lack of orgasm
Treatments for autonomic neuropathy of the female sex organs include:
- Vaginal estrogen creams, suppositories, and rings
Symptoms of autonomic neuropathy of the urinary system may include:
- Unable to completely empty bladder
- Incontinence (leaking urine)
- Increased urination at night
Treatments for neuropathy of the urinary system include:
- Self-catheterization (inserting a catheter into the bladder to release urine)
3. Diabetic Proximal Neuropathy
Diabetic proximal neuropathy causes pain (usually on one side) in the thighs, hips, or buttocks. It can also lead to weakness in the legs.
Treatment is usually needed and may include medication and physical therapy. The recovery varies, depending on the type of nerve damage.
Prevention consists of keeping blood sugar under tight control.
4. Diabetic Focal Neuropathy
Diabetic focal neuropathy can also appear suddenly and affect specific nerves, most often in the head, torso, or leg, causing muscle weakness or pain.
Symptoms of Diabetic Focal Neuropathy may include:
- Double vision
- Eye pain
- Paralysis on one side of the face (Bell’s palsy)
- Severe pain in a certain area, such as the lower back or leg(s)
- Chest or abdominal pain (sometimes mistaken for another condition such as heart attack or appendicitis)
Diabetic Focal Neuropathy is painful and unpredictable, however, it tends to improve by itself over weeks or months and does not tend to cause long-term damage.
Other types of diabetic nerve damage-four areas that will impact your life-are seen:
People with diabetes can also develop other nerve-related conditions, such as nerve compressions (“entrapment syndromes”).
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a very common type of entrapment syndrome and causes numbness and tingling of the hand and sometimes muscle weakness or pain.
Prevention of Diabetic Nerve Damage:
For many diabetics, keeping tight control of your blood sugar levels will help prevent many of these diabetes-related conditions.
Have a serious conversation with your doctor about how to modify your individual diabetes treatment plan in order to prevent complications from diabetic nerve damage.
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- Diabetes And Exercise-Mayo Clinic