Type 2 Diabetes – What Is the Problem With Blood Sugar and Diabetic Neuropathy? – Prolonged exposure to high blood sugar levels results in nerve damage leading to the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy: a family of nerve disorders that causes symptoms of tingling, pain and numbness. According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, sixty to seventy percent of people with diabetes end up having some degree of diabetic neuropathy.
A diabetic may develop neuropathies anytime in their lifetime. However, it was noted that people who have had Type 2 diabetes for more than twenty-five years have the highest rates of diabetic neuropathy. And it is also true that most people who have painful neuropathies don’t even realize they may have Type 2 diabetes. Often they don’t find out until they visit their doctor to find out the reason for the pains they are experiencing. It could start off simply as a tingle in your toes and then progress up your legs.
What causes diabetic neuropathy?
There are several reasons for nerve damage taking place. High blood sugar levels damage blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves. The cells cannot live without oxygen so the neurons starve to death. Other factors such as:
abnormal levels of fat within the blood
blood vessel problems
may also speed up the development of symptoms associated with neuropathy.
What are the most common symptoms?
Diabetic neuropathy results from nerve damage, therefore symptoms are usually seen in the nerves being affected by this problem. The most common symptoms of diabetic neuropathy includes:
muscle pain and weakness
loss of bladder control
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation
vaginal dryness in women
What are the risk factors?
1. Poor blood sugar control: The considers poor blood sugar control as the top risk factor for neuropathy in diabetics. So, if you are a diabetic, you should always keep your blood sugar in check to prevent the possible onset of nerve damage.
2. The number of years of being a diabetic: The older you are, the more likely you are to develop nerve pain.
3. Kidney problems: Diabetes causes damage to the function of your kidneys. And once your kidneys begin malfunctioning, toxins may not be eliminated efficiently from your body resulting in further damage to your nerves.
4. Cigarette smoking: Smoking decreases the blood supply to your hands and feet by narrowing and hardening your blood vessel walls. With decreased blood supply to your extremities, poor wound healing and damage to your nerves usually follows.
How can diabetic neuropathy be treated?
According to , there is no cure. The focus for the management of neuropathy is then to slow the progression of this problem. While lowering blood sugar levels will eventually help reduce your pain and may help to prevent the type of severe damage that will be irreversible, this will take time.
If you happen to have any of the above mentioned symptoms, visiting your doctor is the best option. A few simple blood tests could determine whether you have Type 2 diabetes, at which point you could then start to repair the nerves. The earlier your blood sugar level is controlled, the lesser will be the damage to your nerves.