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What Causes Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy & Is It Reversible?

Neuropathy indicates any condition, which causes damages to nerve cells. These cells have a prime role in sensation, touch, and body movement. Diabetic neuropathy refers to nerves’ damages caused due to diabetes. According to scientists, high sugar content in the blood of any individual suffering from diabetes causes severe damages to his/her nerves with time. Neuropathy is one of the common side effects associated with diabetes. According to the statistics, approximately 60 to 70 percent of diabetes patients develop neuropathy to some extent in their entire life.(1)

Most of the clinical manifestations related to Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy include intolerance to exercise, resting tachycardia, constipation, orthostatic hypotension, erectile dysfunction, gastroparesis, impaired neurovascular function, sudomotor dysfunction and many more. Accordingly, Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy affects most of the organs and systems in the human body.(2)

What Causes Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy?

Autonomic neuropathy is common in diabetes patients and in some cases; it results in severe nerve damage throughout their bodies. Reason for this is that with time, high glucose and high-fat levels, especially triglycerides in the blood of a diabetic person cause damages to the nerves and the surrounding small blood vessels responsible to nourish such nerves. The combination thus results in causing autonomic neuropathy.(3)

Different Types of Diabetic Neuropathies At A Glance

Until now, diabetic neuropathy may take place under different forms, which include the following-

  • Proximal Neuropathy: In proximal neuropathy, a person experiences numbness and pain in his/her upper legs, especially in hips, thighs and buttock regions.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: In this case, patients experience numbness and pain in their extremities, such as feet, arms, hands, legs, and toes.
  • Focal Neuropathy: Focal neuropathy involves sudden functional loss in nerves and in turn, weakness and pain of the surrounding muscles.
  • Autonomic Neuropathy: In this condition, patients experience damages to their nerves belonging to the autonomic nervous system. Especially the nerves, in this case, are responsible to control sweating, sexual response, digestive and urinary functions.(1)

Whether Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy Is Reversible Or Not?

Nerve damages or Diabetic autonomic neuropathy caused due to diabetes is irreversible. Reason for this is that the human body fails to repair the damaged nerve tissues naturally. However, a patient may take suitable steps to manage his/her conditions. These include the following-

  • Controlling the blood glucose or sugar level
  • Treatment of nerve pain properly
  • Regular checkup of feet to make sure to keep them free from infection, injury and wounds
  • Controlling blood glucose level is very much essential, as it prevents additional nerves’ damages. For this, you should adopt the following prime methods-
  • Strictly avoid foods rich in sugar, like sweetened drinks, sodas, fruit juices, coffees, candy bars, and processed bars
  • Have food items rich in fiber to maintain the required blood sugar level
  • Indulge in a habit to consume healthy fats only, like the ones you get from nuts as well as from olive oil
  • Choose to have turkey, chicken and other similar items with lean protein
  • Have plant-based proteins and veggies on a regular basis, including the tofu and beans
  • Undergo proper exercise at least for an hour in a day, while including weight training and aerobics or cardio exercise both in your daily routine.

Monitor the blood sugar regularly in accordance with the recommendations given by your doctor and record the levels. In this way, you will expect to identify patterns and any unusual change in your blood glucose level.

Check Your Feet And Legs Regularly

Nevers in your feet and legs may suffer damages, which result in reduced feeling. To avoid this, you should check your feet and legs regularly to identify any injury or wound. Accordingly-

  • Check the feet regularly to identify any open sore or wound
  • Clip the toenails on a regular basis
  • Wash your feet by applying water and soap regularly
  • Avoid walking barefoot as much as possible

You should make sure to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist regularly(1)


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 23, 2019

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