Peripheral neuropathy affects approximately 50% of adults living with diabetes. Of course, that isn’t indicative of your risk of developing neuropathy, it is subject to a range of variables including how advanced your diabetic condition is, your age, and what type of diabetes you have. The condition itself can be very painful and difficult to manage on your own. The pain you experience can discourage you from living your life to the fullest and can have just as much of a negative impact on your mental health as it does onis your physical wellbeing.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Your peripheral nervous system includes any of the nerves that exist outside of your spinal column and brain. Peripheral neuropathy occurs when your peripheral nerves are diseased or damaged and lose their ability to function normally.
One type of peripheral neuropathy is known as small fiber neuropathy and involves the countless small nerves that send information from your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body. These nerves include:
- Sensory nerves, which involve temperature, pain, vibration, touch, and other sensations on the skin
- Motor nerves, which control muscle movement
- Autonomic nerves, which control your blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and bladder function
What are the Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy?
The symptoms you experience depend on the nerves affected. Neuropathy involving your sensory nerves, for instance, may cause:
- Numbness and tingling in your feet or hands, which can eventually spread upward into your legs or arms
- Sharp, stabbing, freezing, or burning pain
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
When motor nerves are affected, you may experience muscle weakness and loss of coordination. If your autonomic nerves are affected, you may develop:
- Heat intolerance and sweating that’s different from your previous “normal” pattern
- Bowel, bladder, or digestive issues
- Changes in blood pressure that may cause dizziness or lightheadedness
Neuropathy – or nerve damage – can be caused by many different health concerns, and if you’re one of the millions of people living with diabetes, you need to be especially concerned about it. Symptoms of neuropathy include tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands, feet, arms, or legs. Different types of neuropathy can cause problems with balance, vision, sexual function, the heart, digestive system, and nearly every aspect of your physical health.
What is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy is one of the complications of diabetes and is caused by high blood sugar, which can injure nerves throughout your body. It most often affects sensory nerves in your legs and feet but can also cause problems with autonomic nerves, which may slow your digestive system (gastroparesis), cause issues with your heart and blood vessels, and create a wide variety of other serious conditions.
What is the Treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy?
There are many therapies available to help control the effects of peripheral neuropathy. But the first step in effective treatment is identifying the extent of your nerve injury. Dr. Khan may use EMG and nerve conduction studies, skin nerve biopsies, or other diagnostic tests to evaluate your neuropathy. He may also recommend:
- Medications for pain relief
- Improved nutrition through diet and supplements that provide the nutrients healthy nerves require
- Regular exercise
- Tight control of diabetes, thyroid disorders, and other conditions that can cause peripheral neuropathy
- Physical therapy to help improve balance, coordination, and strength
Specialized Testing and Treatment for all Types of Neuropathies, Including:
- EMG and Nerve conduction studies
- SometsesoryEvoked potential tests
- RR Interval and Quantitative Autonomic nerve testing
- Computerized dynamic posturography (CDP)
- Skin Nerve biopsies
If you have diabetes, following your doctor’s advice and controlling your blood sugar are the best ways to prevent problems with neuropathy.
Learn More About the Care Available in Casa Grande for Neuropathy at your Consultation.
If you have symptoms of neuropathy, your doctor may want you to get specialized testing and treatment for nerve damage. Our board-certified neurologist can pinpoint the nerves affected by neuropathy with advanced, in-office testing. We’ll also work with you and your doctor to reduce pain and control the damaging effects of neuropathy, so you can feel better, stay more active, and enjoy your best quality of life.