What is Diabetic Neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur when you have diabetes. It affects mostly the feet and legs first, but can also affect the hands and arms. If left untreated, diabetic neuropathy can develop serious complications, including limb loss, hypoglycemia, low blood pressure and joint deterioration.

Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy

The most common form of diabetic neuropathy is called peripheral neuropathy. Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are worse at night and may include:

  • Numbness or temperature changes
  • Tingling or burning sensations in the extremities
  • Sharp pains or cramps in the extremities
  • Increased and extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Muscle weakness
  • Decrease of reflex ability
  • Decreased balance and coordination
  • Severe foot issues (ulcers, infections, deformities, and bone and joint pain)

Causes and risk factors associated with diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is caused by prolonged high blood sugar, which damages the nerve fibers. High blood sugar interrupts the nerves’ ability to transmit signals. Additionally, it weakens the walls of the capillaries that supply oxygen and nutrients. Other factors that may contribute to diabetic neuropathy include inflammation in the nerves as the result of an autoimmune response as well as other genetic factors unrelated to diabetes. Anyone who has diabetes can develop neuropathy, but these factors make you more susceptible to nerve damage:

  • Poor blood sugar control
  • Length of time you’ve had diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol abuse

Treating diabetic neuropathy

Though diabetic neuropathy has no known cure, treatment and management of diabetic neuropathy primarily focuses on:

  • Slowing the progression of the disease
  • Relieving pain
  • Managing complications and restoring bodily functions

If you are experiencing symptoms or signs of diabetic neuropathy, call the vascular specialists at Baton Rouge Vascular Specialty Center today at (225) 769-4493 to schedule your appointment.