Posted on 04/06/2017 in Treatments

What Is Diabetic Nerve Pain?

Diabetes can damage nerves throughout your body.

Diabetic neuropathy can be extremely painful. It can also pave the way for health-threatening and even life-threatening problems including foot ulcers, amputations, heart attacks, digestion problems and difficulty recognizing low blood sugar episodes. . Medications and other approaches can treat symptoms, such as pain.

The best-known type of diabetic neuropathy is called diabeticperipheral neuropathy. It can cause burning, stabbing or electric-shock-typepain or tingling in your feet, legs, hands or arms. The pain may be worse atnight; treatment options range from over-the-counter patches to prescriptiondrugs.  

But there’s growing evidence that diabetes causes deeper nervedamage that affects more people with high blood sugar than experts onceunderstood. Other types of diabetic neuropathy include:

  • “Silent” diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Up to 50% of people with peripheral neuropathy have no pain and may not realize their feet are numb. This boosts the risk for foot ulcers and increases the risk for amputations 2.5-fold.
  • Diabetic autonomic neuropathy. This can lead to heart attacks, stroke, digestion problems like constipation or diarrhea, sexual difficulties, trouble exercising and can even make noticing low blood sugar episodes difficult – a dangerous condition called hypoglycemic unawareness.
  • Proximal neuropathy. A special concern for some people with type 2 diabetes, this nerve damage can lead to weakness in the legs and pain in the thighs, hips, and buttocks. Medication can ease symptoms during recovery.
  • Mononeuropathies. It may affect the shoulder, hand, leg, feet or face and may be caused by pressure on a nerve. This can cause weakness, pain, numbness or even paralysis. Unlike diabetic neuropathies, which cannot be cured, mononeuropathy usually resolves with treatment.

Diabetes-related nerve damage worsens with age and with advancing diabetes. About one in three people with type 1 diabetes had signs of diabetic neuropathy 25 years after their diabetes was first diagnosed

A few helpful tips to keep you on top of and in tune with yourfoot health:

  1. Have a comprehensive foot exam every year, or more often, performed by a healthcare practitioner.
  2. Keep blood sugar in a healthy range slow development of diabetic neuropathy.
  3. Follow a heart-healthy lifestyle. Studies show that this may reduce the risks associated with autonomic nerve damage of the heart for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.Too often, this condition is not recognized or managed.
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