Diabetic neuropathy is a common clinical complication resulted due to uncontrolled blood sugar levels in diabetics. It is caused due to the severe damage of the nerves that play a key role in controlling your sensation or feelings like pain. Although nerve damage associated with diabetes can be painful, but in most cases it is not severe.
According to leading diabetologists diabetes is not just a blood sugar problem, it is a vascular disorder. That means that diabetes affects the entire body including your nerves. Renowned neurosurgeon Dr Arjun Srivatsa writes more about diabetic neuropathy – a condition that affects the nerves and can have serious complications.
Depending on the type of nerve being affected, the disease can been classified into 4 types - peripheral, autonomic, proximal and focal.
Peripheral neuropathy: It would mean that the peripheral nerves being affected and so symptoms of numbness and tingling in the periphery.
Autonomic neuropathy: It would mean infection of the nerves of the visceral systems like the digestive system, urinary system, etc.
Proximal neuropathy: This would mean the proximal muscles are affected. Read about 18 causes of muscle weakness.
Focal neuropathy: In this type, specific nerve gets affected causing defects only in that specific nerve distribution.
In diabetic patients who have had the condition for a long time, the nerves get affected and cause various symptoms of nerve damage. This is because the nerves receive progressively lesser blood supply due to constricted blood vessels. Since, it can affect any kind of nerve in the body; the symptoms can be as varied as numbness (either localized or all over the body) to urinary problems.
Here are 10 causes of numbness and tingling sensation.
Based on the type of neuropathy described above the symptoms can be
- If the skin in general is affected, there is tingling, numbness, burning (especially in the evening) and pain.
- If the digestive system is affected there is bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, heartburn, nausea and vomiting.
- If the urinary system affected, the patient is unable to completely empty the bladder, bloating, incontinence (leaking urine) and increased urination at night.
- Other symptoms can be blacking out when you stand up quickly, increased heart rate, dizziness, low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, early fullness.
Monitoring blood glucose levels frequently and ensuring that they are under check helps. Foot care treatment to prevent infections and ulcers due to the lack of sensation may be required in some cases. Here are 8 foot care tips diabetics must follow.
In case of severe pain, drugs to help alleviate the pain – tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants like pregabalin, carbamezapine, opioid and opioid like drugs do help. Here's everything you should know about painkillers or analgesics.
The content has been verified by Dr
Arjun Srivatsa, Neurosurgeon and Spine Surgeon, Delhi.