Diabetic Neuropathy

There are many types of neuropathy depending on which type of nerve has been affected.

Diabetic neuropathy is a peripheral nerve disorder caused by diabetes or poor blood glucose control. It can occur early in the disease or for some can develop slowly after many years of diabetes. It mainly affects the nerves in the feet and lower legs, but it can also affect arms and hands.

There are other types of diabetic related neuropathies that affect specific parts of the body - autonomic nerves can be affected causing lightheadedness, digestive tract problems, bladder and bowel control, blood pressure problems, and impotence.

The most common symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are those affecting the extremities, in particular the feet and legs. Nerve damage in these areas is called peripheral neuropathy, with the most common symptoms being tingling (pins and needles) or a burning sensation in the toes and feet, or lower leg, leading to pain and loss of feeling, and difficulty walking. Loss of feeling is particularly important as it can allow injuries to go unnoticed, leading to serious infections, ulcers, diabetic foot, and amputations. People with diabetes are more likely to be admitted to hospital with foot ulcers than with any other complication of diabetes. For many just touching the skin can be very uncomfortable; the lightest touch even from bed clothes can be painful.

Diagnosis of neuropathy
The feet should be checked at least once a year for poor circulation / reduced sensation, deformities, dry skin and calluses. There are many medical conditions that can cause similar symptoms to diabetic neuropathy but need different treatments, so it is important to be examined by a diabetes specialist or neurologist to confirm a diagnosis of neuropathy.

What causes diabetic neuropathy?
Even with the latest advanced technologies in the world it is still not known exactly how diabetes damages the nerves. One theory is that if blood glucose and blood pressure are too high, damage to small blood vessels throughout the body will occur and prevent essential nutrients reaching nerves. The nerves then become damaged or disappear altogether.

Treatment for diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy cannot be cured so the main aim in treating diabetic neuropathy is to prevent further nerve damage and relieve discomfort. There are many products and treatments available that can ease symptoms and improve the quality of life such as painkillers, creams, and medication for calming the nerves. Soft top socks can help reduce pain and discomfort in the lower leg, so too can magnetic shoe insoles that help boost circulation. Treating pain from diabetic neuropathy takes patience and perseverance remember the best way to reduce the risk of developing diabetic neuropathy or prevent it becoming worse, is to control blood glucose levels. Follow a healthy balanced diet, make sure prescribed medications are taken correctly, and take some form of regular exercise. We have put together a selection of products that many people with diabetes find beneficial.