About 60-70% of diabetic people have some form of neuropathy. People with diabetes are prone to develop nerve problems, but the risks are higher based on the age of the person involved and how long has he been suffering from the disease. The highest rate of neuropathy is amongst people who had this disease for at least twenty five (25) years.
Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder brought about by diabetes. Diabetic people can eventually develop nerve damage all throughout their bodies without having any symptoms at all. Nerve damage can occur in each organ of the person, including the heart, digestive tract and sex organs.
Signs and Symptoms
This disease affects the peripheral nerves of the body such as motor neurons, pain fibers and autonomic nerves. Hence, it affects all the organs that are innervated. Depending on the nerve that is affected, the symptoms can also vary and they usually progress slowly over years. The general symptoms are:
Numbness and Tingling sensation on the extremities
Dyesthesia – loss or decrease of sensation
Urinary Incontinence – loss of bladder control
Any diabetic patient with clinical manifestation of such disease is at risk for ulceration of the foot. This is true for the fact that the presence of neuropathy can affect the sensation of the foot and therefore is prone to injuries. Once injured, the risk of foot ulceration and infection also rises, which can eventually lead to gangrene and amputation if not properly cared for. Therefore, education on foot care is provided. They also require frequent check ups with meticulous inspection of the foot and reinforce the necessitation of habitual self-care.
Medications are also available for the remedy of diabetic neuropathic pain. These drugs include tricyclic antidepressant, pregabalin, topical lidocaine, duloxetine and gabapentin. Further medications are also used such as carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenytoin, opiods and oxcarbazepine.
Topical Medications also use such as lidocaine patches or capsaicin. They are helpful in some diabetic patients with localizes pains. However, bear in mind that all medications have their corresponding side effects if not used properly, hence, proper handling and usage of the medication is vital.
Prevention Is Better
The best way for a diabetic person from having a complication such as this is to control his/her diabetes. He/She should try to maintain a normal blood glucose or blood sugar level. Aside from this, keeping normal blood pressure and regular exercise is also important. Through exercise, you will be able to burn those excess sugar in you blood thus lowering your risk of developing neuropathy.
If a diabetic person smoke or drinks excessive alcohol, he or she should also put a stop to this because excessive smoking and alcohol intake can lead to neuropathy or it can make it worse. Instead, a healthy diet is necessary and frequent follow up appointments with you healthcare provider is a must.