Diabetic Neuropathy

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Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy (DN) is caused by high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia). Not all the reasons for diabetic neuropathy are understood. But it is understood that high blood sugar is the main cause, along with high blood fat (triglycerides), high blood pressure and in those who are overweight. It is believed that damage to the blood vessels causes decreased blood flow to the nerves. When this happens the nerves are damaged due to decreased oxygen and nutrients. Blood vessels depend on normal nerve function and nerves depend on adequate blood flow. Diabetic neuropathy affects all peripheral nerves: pain fibers, motor neurons and autonomic nerves. Your entire body is innervated; meaning every part of your body has nerves. Therefore it can affect all organs and systems. The nerves travel from your brain through your spinal cord and branch out to every part of you. The nerves control everything you do, unconsciously and consciously Diabetes is the leading cause of neuropathy in developed countries. Sixty to seventy percent of people with diabetes have some form of diabetic neuropathy. The highest rates of neuropathy are in diabetics who have had the disease over twenty five years. Although it can affect you at any stage of the disease. So what are the symptoms of neuropathy? Some people with neuropathy have no symptoms at all. While most have numbness, tingling or pain in the feet. The feet are usually the first to show signs of DN because they are the longest nerves in the body. But it can affect every part of your body. There are four classes of neuropathy, autonomic, peripheral, proximal and focal. Each one of these affects different areas ofyour body the sensory, motor and autonomic or involuntary nervous systems. Diabetics can have one or any combination of these classes.

These are the main symptoms;


  • numbness, tingling or pain in the toes, feet, legs, hands,arms and fingers    
  • diarrhea or constipation    
  • weakness    
  • problems with urination    
  • wasting of the muscles in the feet and hands    
  • nausea, vomiting or indigestion    
  • erectile dysfunction in men    
  • vaginal dryness in women    
  • dizziness or fainting upon standing or sitting up   Autonomic neuropathy; affects your internal organs.  
  • slow digestion    
  • slow bowel and bladder emptying, which can cause infections    
  • sexual response (impotence; men, dryness; women)    
  • perspiration (excess or very little)    
  • nerves for the heart and lungs (which affects heart rate andbreathing)    
  • blood pressure (both high and low)    
  • eyes (blurry, focusing, double vision)   Peripheral neuropathy;affects the toes, feet, hands and arms. You can have or it can lead to all of these;  
  • insensitivity to pain    
  • loss of feeling (numbness)    
  • sharp pain or cramps    
  • hammertoes    
  • ulcers    
  • amputation

    Proximal neuropathy;affects the thighs, hips, buttocks and weakness in the legs usually on one side of the body. This type usually is found in type 2 diabetes. Treatment for the pain and weakness will be needed.
  • weakness in the legs    
  • inability to stand without help (can cause fainting)     Focal neuropathy;affects one nerve or a group of nerves anywhere in the body causing pain and weakness. It may cause;  
  • pain in the stomach, side, chest, outside of shin, inside ofthe foot, front of thigh or in your side    
  • severe pain in the pelvis or lower back    
  • abdominal or chest pain that may be mistaken for a heartattack    
  • eye problems such as focusing, double vision or an ache behind one eye

    You can help prevent or slow diabetic neuropathy by keeping your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. This will not only help the nerves but also help vascular disease.
      To test for diabetic neuropathy your Doctor will do a variety of tests. He willdo a comprehensive exam of your feet (because feet are usually the first to be affected) to assess skin, muscles, bone, circulation and sensation. He will use a monofilament line (something like a hairbrush bristle) to prick your feet to see if you sense the pressure. If you cannot sense the pressure, it is a good sign you have lost the ability to feel a cut, bruise, splinter or any other damage. This places you at risk to develop an ulcer which when untreated can lead to amputation.




Disclaimer: These Wellness Protocols are not intended to replace the attention or advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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