Diabetes

Neuropathy

What is neuropathy?

Neuropathy is the damage of the nerves travelling between the brain, the spinal cord, and to the different parts of the body. It can be caused by Diabetes or other illnesses. It is more common in those who have had Diabetes for several years.  Approximately, half of the people with Diabetes suffer from neuropathy.

High blood sugar levels over a period of time can lead to nerve injury and can also damage the blood vessels that supply nerves, ultimately, leading to nerve damage.

What are the main types of diabetic neuropathy?

There are three main types of diabetic neuropathy which can cause various symptoms depending on the affected part of the body.

Sensory neuropathy:

This is the most common type of neuropathy. It usually affects the nerves of the feet and legs, and can sometimes influence the nerves of the hands and arms as well. Sensory neuropathy can cause tingling, numbness, burning pains in the legs (especially in bed at night), shooting pains, or occasionally over-sensitivity to a slightest touch. Many patients with Diabetes may have signs of sensory neuropathy upon feet examination at the clinic without having any symptoms. Loss of foot sensation may lead to many foot problems, including foot injuries or ulcers.  Thus, it is crucial to take good care of your feet.  Moreover, it is advisable to have regular checkups with a podiatrist.

Motor neuropathy:

This is a less common form of neuropathy which might lead to walking problems. It may cause weakness of the muscles, especially in the legs. It can also change the shape of feet and toes which may require wearing special therapeutic shoes rather than forcing deformed feet and toes in regular shoes.

Autonomic neuropathy:

Autonomic neuropathy affects the nerves controlling your body systems and internal organs. The symptoms vary according to the site of the problem.

What should I do to prevent or delay nerve damage?

Remember to consider the following: