While we know that Diabetes puts you at risk for cancer and heart disease, it can also cause diabetic neuropathy. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. High blood sugar (glucose) can injure nerves throughout your body.” Those injured nerves can cause loss of feeling in your hands and feet. The American Diabetes Association estimates that about half of the amount of people with type II diabetes will develop neuropathy. That means that 15 million Americans currently living with type II diabetes will eventually get the disease.
Causes and Symptoms
The Mayo Clinic states that diabetics develop neuropathy because “uncontrolled high blood sugar damages nerves and interferes with their ability to send signals. High blood sugar also weakens the walls of the small blood vessels (capillaries) that supply the nerves with oxygen and nutrients.” There are different types of neuropathy caused by diabetes, but the most common is peripheral neuropathy.
Peripheral neuropathy usually starts in your feet and legs and can move to your hands and arms. It can be located on one side of your body or on both sides. Symptoms include:
-Sharp or shooting pain
-Tingling or burning feeling
-Increased sensitivity to touch
-Numbness or loss of feeling
-Loss of balance
While the symptoms may sound painful, the real danger occurs if someone develops a cut or sore in the area affected by neuropathy. If gone untreated, sores can lead to ulcers and can lead serious infections. At this stage, doctors will amputate the affected area. Additionally, The New York Times reveals that “each year in the United States, there are about 86,000 diabetes-related amputations.”
Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes, and diabetes responds very well to diet and exercise. You can reduce your risk of developing neuropathy by changing your lifestyle. At Complete Care Health Centers, we have diabetic specialists who can help you work towards reversing reversing diabetes. To learn more about changing your lifestyle, call our clinic at 541-773-9772 and book an appointment with Laurel today.