Diabetes can harm the nervous system. This condition is known as diabetic neuropathy. Approximately 50% of diabetics, have been found to suffer from some form of diabetic nerve pain.
Diabetic neuropathy is caused when the sugar levels in blood stays high for an excessively long period of time. Other contributing factors to diabetic neuropathy are swelling in the nerves triggered by an autoimmune response. Genetic factors, unrelated to diabetes could make some people predisposed to nerve damage. Substance abuse- like smoking and excessive drinking, are also contributing factors.
The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy vary depending on which nerves and what part of the body is affected.
Neuropathy can be broadly categorized into 3 types:
- Peripheral or sensory neuropathy- affects the nerves that transmit sensory information to the brain from different parts of the body. Sensory neuropathy can result in pain, numbness or tingling, specifically in the hands, feet or legs and eventually, an inability to feel any other sensation in affected areas. This has been found to be the most common form of diabetic neuropathy.
- Autonomic neuropathy- affects the nerves in the body that regulate the body systems and internal organs like the heart, stomach, bladder, sexual organs and intestine. This has been found to cause complications like indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, bloated stomach, bladder infections and impotency.
- Motor neuropathy- affects the nerves that transfer signals to the muscles allowing for motions like walking and moving fingers. This condition can result in muscle weakness and is very rare in diabetes.
In some specific cases, it has been seen that neuropathy flares up suddenly, resulting in weakness and excessive weight loss. This condition can also precipitate depression or some such mental illness in some patients. It is imperative to be aware and vigilant about ones symptoms and seek medical aid.
E126 – Diabetes and Nerve Damage, Neuropathy – www.diabetic.today