Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve damage or injury caused by diabetes. The reason neuropathies develop in people with diabetes is because fluctuations in blood glucose levels end up destroying the small blood vessels that nourish the nerves. This causes nerve endings to suffer from a lack of oxygen and nutrients, which gradually destroys them.
When diabetic neuropathy is accompanied by pain it is because it affects the nerves that transmit sensations, such as touch, cold, heat or pain. When nerves are damaged, the perception of these signals is affected and sometimes pain appears without obvious injury to the naked eye.
Damage can occur in any organ or tissue, but the most common are the skin, digestive system, heart and sexual organs. Depending on the affected area, the consequences will vary from patient to patient.
Diabetic neuropathy symptoms
The most common symptoms in people who develop diabetic neuropathy are:
Feeling tingling, numbness or lack of sensation in hands or feet.
Acute, stabbing pain that appears without any justification and does not improve with the usual painkillers.
Extreme sensitivity in hands and/or feet.
Weakness in the limbs (legs, arms, hands…).
Appearance of ulcers or skin lesions that do not heal easily, especially on the feet and calves.
Not everyone has the same symptoms with the same intensity. They occur more frequently in older people and diabetics who have lived together for many years with the disease, especially if they have not had good control of their blood sugar.
In any case, if you are diabetic and notice any of these symptoms, go to your doctor to assess your general health and perform the necessary diagnostic tests.
Treatment and prevention
The best treatment for diabetic neuropathy is prevention. Maintaining stable blood glucose levels is critical to avoid complications. To do this, it is necessary to take into account the following tips:
Improve your diet, reduce simple sugars in your diet.
Lower your blood pressure.
Maintain a physically active lifestyle.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
Perform frequent checks with your doctor to assess the adequacy of the drugs you take.
Once neuropathy has appeared, it is still important to control diabetes to prevent it from getting worse. However, it is also necessary to take care of the symptoms it produces, especially pain, as it is one of the most common causes of loss of quality of life.