Diabetic neuropathy is one of the major complications of diabetes, and it is considered a form of nerve damage. There are four types of this condition, and it can impact nerves throughout the body. The most common form of diabetic neuropathy affects the legs and feet. Symptoms generally include tingling and burning sensations, numbness, sharp pain, and increased sensitivity to touch. Some patients may experience a decreased ability to feel hot or cold temperatures. Muscle weakness, balance problems, and coordination difficulties may also be present. Diabetic neuropathy can have particularly severe effects on the ankles and feet. Foot ulcers and infections may occur, and patients may have pain in the bones of their feet. When reflexes are tested, they may be diminished or absent, particularly in the ankle.
The major causes and risk factors for diabetic neuropathy are outlined below.
Poor Control Over Blood Sugar
Poor control over blood sugar is one of the main causes of diabetic neuropathy. Patients may have trouble controlling their blood sugar due to lifestyle habits and medication problems. For example, some patients do not check their blood sugar as often as their doctor recommends, and this means they cannot take action to correct potentially high numbers. If a patient’s diet is high in fast food and processed food items, they may experience large swings in sugar readings throughout the day, and these can be very difficult to manage. To achieve better control over blood sugar and reduce the risk of neuropathy, diabetes patients may need to take a combination of tablets, injections, and insulin to control their glucose. Consultations with a nutritionist may help patients with meal planning and educate them about dietary changes that may stabilize their glucose readings.
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