How Do You Know If You Have Diabetic Nerve Damage?
Diabetes is a disease that doesn't discriminate—the damage it causes often takes place throughout the body. And one of the things the disease attacks is your nerves. About 60 to 70 percent of diabetics suffer some type of nerve damage, or neuropathy, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. And the most likely to have it are people who've had diabetes for at lesat 25 years, who are overweight, who have high blood pressure, or who have trouble controlling their blood-sugar levels.
While doctors cannot always pinpoint exactly how diabetes causes nerve damage, some of the most likely culprits, either singly responsible or working in combination, include high blood sugar and other metabolic factors such as high levels of blood fats and low levels of insulin; vascular difficulties affecting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to nerves; and autoimmune problems that cause nerve inflammation.
How do you know if you've got diabetic neuropathy? The first symptom of nerve damage is often numbness, tingling or pain in the feet, although some diabetics with nerve damage may never notice any symptoms at all. Symptoms may start gradually and build over time, or they may come on suddenly and aggressively. Typically, they include:
- numbness, tingling and pain in the legs and feet (this is the most common type of diabetic neuropathy, and it's why experts recommend that diabetics get thorough foot exams each year)
- numbness, tingling and pain in the arms, hands, and fingers
- atrophying of the foot and hand muscles
- gastrointestinal distress
- dizziness due to blood-pressure drops
- urinary problems
- erectile difficulties
Diabetic neuropathy also can cause blindness as nerves in the eyes deteriorate, can affect bladder and bowel function, and can even alter the way you sweat.
The best way to prevent diabetic neuropathy? Keep your blood-sugar levels as steady as possible and in the normal range. This will go a long way toward maintaining your health and your normal sensory and bodily functions. But if you've already suffered some type of nerve damage, see your doctor. Your treatment will depend upon the type of nerve damage you have, as there are too many variables for one standard treatment to apply to everyone.
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Hotter Temperatures Linked To Kidney Stones
- 2. Summer Bug Bites: What to Look For
- 3. Skin Health Advice with Dr. Kenneth Beer
- 4. Summer Safety Tips That Every Parent Needs To Know
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.