Diabetic Neuropathy Symptoms: Do You Have Them?

You get off work feeling fatigued, with prickling sensations in your feet and legs. You might think this is probably because of the tight shoes that you are wearing -- that you tried to put on for the sake of color coordinating your outfit. Or maybe, you think that it might be the weather.

In any case, when you get home and take off your shoes, you see a great big red blister on your heel where the tight shoes keep on rubbing. Too tired to care, you choose to ignore it. Several days later, you can barely put on your shoes or even stand up to go to work because of that blister, which has now become seriously infected. You begin feeling sharp cramps in your legs and arms. Sometimes, your hand-to-eye coordination and motor skills become uncoordinated. These are some of the signs of diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes. It is commonly brought about by the destruction of peripheral nerves, usually seen in the extremities, supposedly by the prolonged elevation of glucose in the blood. It brings about either pain or loss of it, starting in the toes, and traveling towards the feet and legs, hands and arms.

There are also other types of diabetic neuropathies, like autonomic neuropathies that affect the major organ systems such as the circulatory, digestive, genitor-urinary, and integumentary system. Since the autonomic system is responsible for the regulation of the body’s physiological processes, a neuropathy can exhibit changes in digestion, bowel movement and bladder emptying, sexual relations, and blood pressure. It can also make the patient unaware of the warning signs of hypoglycemia.

Symptoms of proximal neuropathies — another type of diabetic neuropathy — are concentrated on one side of the thighs, hips and buttocks or legs, commonly seen in Type 2 diabetics and in older people. It is usually manifested in their inability to stand up from a sitting position since their legs are rendered weak and painful.

Focal neuropathies produce an abrupt weakness of a nerve or a group of nerves that causes the affected muscle weakness or pain. It is most commonly seen in the head, body or leg. Its symptoms include double vision, pain in the eyes, one side paralysis of the face, severe pain in the lower back or legs, and chest or abdominal pain similar to a heart attack or appendicitis. This type of diabetic neuropathy is often painful and sudden, although it is self improving and does not tend to produce long-term damage.

Diabetic neuropathy symptoms are mostly based on the type of nerve affected, the type of injury it received, and/or the organs that a specific nerve supplies. As with any other disease, these signs and symptoms should not be ignored since they give warning that an underlying serious condition may be present. It is always easier to treat a disease when it is caught in its initial stage. So when you are feeling something out of the ordinary, take notice of it. It might be nothing more than a passing viral infection… or it just may be something really serious.

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