Diabetic neuropathy is a sensation of numbness or tingling in the feet. Since diabetes affects the blood sugar levels, it can cause nerve damage in a pattern that initially affects the hands and feet. This impairment to the nervous system is called diabetic neuropathy and can cause direct consequences to the feet.
The indications of diabetic neuropathy will not fully manifest until several years after diabetes is diagnosed. Elevated blood sugar levels can damage the walls of the blood vessels that supply the nerves and result to nerve damage. The nerve damage can result to sore tingling or burning sensations in the feet and legs. The worse consequence is the diminished protective sensation in the feet where the individual is unaware of pain, pressure, cold and heat.
Should I be worried?
Diabetic neuropathy can affect more than the feet. It can also affect the autonomic nervous system which are the nerves that control the heart rate, digestion and other vital functions and result to significant resting tachycardia, slowing down of the digestive tract and erectile dysfunction.
Management and prevention
Controlling the blood sugar level is the initial defense against the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. It is vital to carefully follow the instructions of the doctor in managing diabetes such as diet, lifestyle changes, exercises and medications.
If an individual has diabetic neuropathy, medications are prescribed including anticonvulsants, antidepressants or narcotics to alleviate the symptoms. Some individuals achieve relief while others experience minimal or no effect. Remember that these medications can also trigger potent side effects, usually involving sedation.
Whether the individual has already developed neuropathy or not, the treatment and prevention recommendations usually follow the same measures in treating and preventing diabetic feet.