Many people are not aware that there is any connection between diabetes and peripheral neuropathy. Sometimes, neuropathy is the first signs that you may have diabetes. In the same way if you are a diabetic you may manifest symptoms of neuropathy.
About 60% to 70% of all people with diabetes will eventually develop peripheral neuropathy, although not all suffer pain. Yet this nerve damage is not inevitable. Studies have shown that people with diabetes can reduce their risk of developing nerve damage by keeping their blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.
Let us take a look at diabetes and peripheral neuropathy
When the sugar levels in your body go up over the normal parameters, you are diagnosed as a diabetic. There are different types of diabetes. There are:
- Juvenile diabetes
- Type1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
- Adult diabetes
- Elderly diabetes
Some of these may overlap one another. For example, juvenile diabetes may disappear after the child reaches a certain age. Gestational diabetes crops up when a woman is pregnant. Adult diabetes can be Type 1 or Type 2. Elderly diabetes can also be either, but is happens as a part of aging.
This could be a side effect of diabetes or a precursor to the fact that you are on your way to being a diabetic. The symptoms of neuropathy are:
- Numbness of the extremities
- Tingling in the extremities
- Feeling of pins and needles
- A prickly sensation
- A burning sensation
- Coldness of hands and feet
- Sharp pinpoints of pain
- Stabbing pains
These symptoms are quite often worse at night. If you are a diabetic be on the lookout for these sensations.
Sensitivity to touch. You will have a heightened sensitivity to touch, heat and cold
Weakness in the muscles. You find it difficult to carry things, get up and sit down, walk, climb stairs etc.
Problems with balancing. You may feel giddy headed and have problems with co ordination. This is caused by muscle damage.
Fatigue. A feeling of always being tired.
If you aren’t a diabetic and you are experiencing these symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately and get our blood sugar tested to check if you have diabetes.
Get yourself checked as soon as possible
The combination of diabetes and neuropathy can be quite serious, and you should make sure that you are getting the best medical attention possible. Chronically high blood sugar levels can damage nerves. It may start in the extremities, but may soon spread to other parts of the body. Once the nerves are damages the messages between the brain and various parts of your body gets disrupted. So you will have unsteadiness, difficulty in co ordination, difficulty in talking etc, because of nerve damage.
You will also not be able to feel heat, cold, wounds, blisters etc. For example, if you get an infection or a wound, you may not feel pain because of nerve damage and when you do finally see a doctor, it may be too late as people with high blood sugar do not heal fast. This could also prove life threatening or may result in the loss of a limb.
The consequences can be life-threatening. An infection that won't heal because of poor blood flow causes risk for developing ulcers and can lead to amputation and even death.
If you have any of the above symptoms or if you are a diabetic, take your health seriously and see a doctor.