How Does Diabetic Neuropathy Affect The Body & What Triggers It?

Diabetic neuropathy is the complication of diabetes that results in damage to nerves that sit near the surface of your skin. Uncontrollable levels of sugar in the blood injure nerves throughout the body system. Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy vary based on the type and range from pain & numbness to failure of internal organs majorly the heart and kidney.

To prevent it, consult your health care provider and follow remedies to manage your blood sugar level.

How Does Diabetic Neuropathy Affect The Body?

There are four types of diabetes-related neuropathy which will affect the body:

Peripheral Neuropathy– It is a problem of the peripheral nerves that occurs as a result of damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord and often causes weakness. These nerves are found in arm, hands, legs, feet, mouth, internal organs and a few others.

When there is damage in these nerves, it disrupts the normal function and the individual will lose the sensation or experience numbness in those areas. Although the symptom of peripheral neuropathy depends on the cause yet some of the most common symptoms of this condition is

  • Tingling sensation in the hands and feet
  • Burning in the toes and fingers
  • Localized burning or itching feeling in the sides of the chest, face, buttock and few other regions
  • Sharp, jabbing or shooting pain, feels like an electric shock
  • Sleeping difficulties 1.

Proximal Neuropathy- Also known as diabetic amyotrophy is another nerve disorder that occurs as a result of diabetes mellitus. It is rare and disabling nerve damage in the hip, buttock and the thigh area causing major suffering among affected individuals. Symptoms of proximal neuropathy include

  • Severe pain in the hip and thigh area makes it difficult to stand from sitting position
  • Increased sensitivity to touch. In the worst-case scenario, the patients suffering from this condition even struggle to lift a weightless bedsheet and can be painful.
  • Loss of sensitivity in the hands and feet, and in organs such as the kidneys and heart
  • Leg weakness and breathing difficulties. 2.

Autonomic Neuropathy– This condition occurs when the nerves that control involuntary bodily functions are damaged. In a nutshell, damage to the nerves that manage everyday body functions. The body functions include blood pressure, heart, bowel, and bladder. It is one of the serious complications of diabetes mellitus. Signs and symptoms of autonomic neuropathy depend on the nerves affected that include

Focal Neuropathy-Also referred to as mononeuropathy occurs suddenly and improves after several weeks or months and affects specific nerves, most often in the head, torso, or leg. Focal neuropathy occurs due to inflammation or injury to the peripheral nerve. Symptoms include

  • Paralysis on one side of the face
  • Acute pain in lower back and legs
  • Pain in chest and abdominal regions
  • Difficulty in focusing or experience double vision. 4.

What Triggers Diabetic Neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy is caused when blood sugar levels shoot up over a period of time, damages nerves and interfere with their ability to send signals. When the sugar levels go uncontrollably high, it weakens the walls of the tiny blood vessels and capillaries that are primarily responsible for transmitting oxygen and nutrients. The major threats of diabetic neuropathy are

  • Obesity And High Triglycerides- Obesity impairs neuropathic pain intensity and nerve damage would be prominent in obese and overweight patients.
  • Increased Blood Pressure– It can also damage the small blood vessels that nourish your nerves with oxygen and nutrients.
  • Low Levels Of Good HDL Cholesterol- This can induce the risk of diabetic neuropathy by 67% 5.

References

  1. Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms and causes https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-neuropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352061
  2. Proximal neuropathy common symptoms and treatments https://www.patientslikeme.com/conditions/proximal-neuropathy
  3. Autonomic neuropathy symptoms and causes https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/autonomic-neuropathy-overview
  4. Types of Diabetic Neuropathy https://www.endocrineweb.com/guides/diabetic-neuropathy/types-diabetic-neuropathy
  5. What causes diabetic neuropathy? https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/diabetic-neuropathy

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