At some point 60-70% of diabetic patients develop some form of neuropathy. As a diabetic, it is important that you learn to identify and cope with neuropathy.
Neuropathy is the main reason dietetics sometimes end up with non-traumatic amputation of the feet and legs. It is, therefore, important to be able to identify symptoms of neuropathy and learn how to best deal with the cognition.
Know the Symptoms of Neuropathy
Neuropathy is caused by nerve damage. It usually begins as a slight burning or tingling sensation which can be followed by intense pain. Neuropathy may also cause a loss of sensation or numbness in the affected area. It can also cause lack of coordination and muscle weakness.
While neuropathy most commonly occurs in the legs, feet, arms, and hands it can affect any area of the body.
Talk to Your Doctor
Notify your doctor immediately of any signs or symptoms of neuropathy. Early detection and treatment offers the best chance of controlling the symptoms and preventing further nerve damage.
While there is no cure for neuropathy your doctor can prescribe medication to help ease the discomfort associated with the condition. It is also important to have your doctor examine your limbs, especially your feet and legs.
In addition to checking muscle strength and reflexes your doctor will monitor your blood pressure and sensitivity of the affected area.
Maintain Your Diabetic Diet
Stick to your diabetic diet. Maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels may help keep neuropathy at bay. Avoid sugary foods that upset your blood sugar levels, paying attention to carbohydrates which can also throw your blood sugar off balance. As always, your goal is to maintain safe blood sugar levels.
Take Special Care When Neuropathy Occurs
Once you are diagnosed with neuropathy it I is important to take special care of the any area of the body affected by neuropathy. When pain and tingling escalate to numbness it can become difficult to detect injuries or changes in temperature.
Be careful to watch for minor wounds. Small wounds can easily become infected and are often difficult to heal.
Diabetic neuropathy is not something you can control or necessarily prevent. Work to maintain general good health and healthy blood sugar levels, but it is imperative that you see a doctor once you develop symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Calder, Alexandra. The 5 Ds of Diabetic Neuropathy. Diabetes, August/September 2010.
Peripheral Neuropathy, MayoClinic.com