One of the long-term effects of diabetes is the damage to the nerves, often known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy. If neuropathy damage is not treated, it may result in infection and amputation of a limb.
In addition to making you feel weak, nerve injury can cause pain, burning, tingling, and numbness. The feet are frequently impacted. You may not feel your feet and toes as well as usual and may not notice cuts or sores if you have nerve loss in your feet. A severe infection can develop from even a little wound. It’s crucial that you heed your doctor’s recommendations for proper foot care.
Diabetes can occasionally harm the body’s regulating nerves. Your blood pressure, sweating, digestion, and urination may be impacted if this occurs. A goal range for your blood sugar that is higher or lower than you’re used to hearing from your doctor is possible.
Thankfully, there are a number of precautions you may take to avoid further nerve damage. Controlling your blood sugar levels will help with neuropathy symptoms and slow the course of nerve damage in addition to routine foot exams.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy: An explanation
Peripheral nerve injury can result from high blood glucose (sugar) levels over an extended length of time. Peripheral nerves are the nerves that supply the arms, hands, legs, and feet.
Because of this injury, vital nutrients cannot reach these regions, which causes the nerves to malfunction or die.
Amputation and foot ulceration risk are both increased by diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Minor scrapes, sores, or blisters in the feet and toes of diabetics who have nerve loss are frequently not seen.
These little wounds are readily infected, can develop into gangrene, and may eventually need to be amputated if neglected.
Smoking and the following conditions increase your risk of developing diabetic peripheral neuropathy or nerve damage:
• High levels of blood sugar
• Excessive blood pressure
• Excess body weight
• Elevated triglycerides (a form of fat).
Various body areas may have symptoms as a result of nerve injury. The most typical signs are peculiar feelings in the foot and toes, like:
- Shooting, piercing aches
- Pins-and-needles sensation
- A pulsating sensation (not able to properly feel pain, heat, or cold)
Prevention and treatment of nerve injury
Despite the lack of a treatment, there are numerous techniques to effectively control or postpone diabetic peripheral neuropathy:
Take good care of your feet, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, have your feet tested frequently, and consult your doctor about available prescription alternatives.
How can you care for yourself at home?
Follow these steps to care for your diabetic neuropathy at home:
- Always take your medications as directed. If you believe there may be a problem with your medication, contact your doctor or nurse advice line.
- Try to maintain your goal range for blood sugar.
- Stick to your food plan to determine how many carbs you’ll need for meals and snacks. You can get assistance with meal planning from a licensed dietitian or diabetes educator.
- Make an effort to exercise for at least 30 minutes most days.
- Check your blood sugar as frequently as your doctor advises each day.
- If your doctor guides you to take and record your blood pressure at home then request your doctor to examine your blood pressure monitor to make sure that it is accurate and the cuff fits you before taking your blood pressure at home. Additionally, request that your doctor see you to ensure that you are using it properly.
- Avoid using medications that are known to elevate blood pressure before taking your reading, such as some nasal decongestant sprays.
- If you’ve just exercised, or if you’re anxious or angry, avoid taking your blood pressure.
- Quit smoking. Your risk of having a heart attack or stroke can increase if you smoke. Consult your doctor about medications and stop-smoking programmes if you need assistance quitting. These may improve your chances of successfully quitting.
- Men should only have three drinks per day, while women should only have two. Alcohol abuse can also have very negative health effects.
- Instead of two or three large meals a day, eat small meals frequently.
To care for your feet
- Protect your feet from harm by always wearing shoes, especially inside.
- Include foot care in your regular regimen. After washing your feet, apply lotion to them, avoiding the space in between your toes. Look at your feet closely with a hand mirror or magnifying mirror to check for any sores, wounds, cracks, or blisters.
- Have your toenails filed straight across and trimmed.
- Put on properly fitting socks and shoes. The finest shoes for your feet are those that fit well, are soft, and provide good support (like tennis shoes).
- Before you put your shoes on, inspect them for any loose pieces or sharp edges.
- Request that your doctor examine your feet each time you see them. Your doctor might identify a foot issue that you have overlooked.
- Seek care right away for any foot issue, no matter how slight.
Maintain optimum blood sugar levels
It can be beneficial to control your blood sugar levels and maintain them within a specific range to stop additional nerve deterioration.
You can regulate your levels and avoid other issues by following a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, and using medications (if necessary).
Regularly inspect your feet
Regarding type 1 diabetes
Within the first five years of diagnosis, diabetic peripheral neuropathy is rare. Adult testing should start five years after type 1 diabetes first appears.
When a youngster has had type 1 diabetes for at least five years and has passed puberty, testing should be done.
To treat type 2 diabetes
Testing for diabetic peripheral neuropathy in persons with type 2 diabetes should start as soon as the condition is identified and should continue annually after that.
When should you seek assistance?
Call your doctor or nurse advice line very away, or go to the hospital right away if you have any of the following signs of infection :
- Increased pain
- Red streaks originating from the vicinity
- The region is losing pus
- A fever
- You have numbness, pain, or tingling in any area of your body that is new or severe.
- Keep an eye out for any changes in your health, and call your doctor or nurse advice line right away if you notice anything out of the ordinary with your foot, such as a new sore or ulcer.
- A skin break that is still not healing after a few days
- Bleeding calluses or corns
- A toenail that is ingrown