Updated: Feb 25
To understand how diabetes and neuropathy are linked, we must first understand what each term means. The team at Neuropathy Treatment Clinics of Texas offers their assessment of just what neuropathy and diabetes are, how they’re related, and what you can do to fight both.
Diabetes and neuropathy
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose level (also called blood sugar) is too high. This condition occurs because your body can’t produce insulin to get the glucose into the cells of your body (Type 1 diabetes) or your body doesn’t use the insulin it does produce in the right way (Type 2 diabetes). An estimated 30.3 million Americans have diabetes.
Neuropathy refers to general disease or malfunction of your nerves. It’s often classified according to the nerves that are damaged — peripheral neuropathy, for example, is one of the most common types and refers to nerve problems outside of the brain and spinal cord.
How are they related?
Neuropathy can be caused by several factors, but the condition most commonly associated with it is diabetes. In fact, peripheral neuropathy, which includes damage to the sensory nerves, is often called diabetic neuropathy because the condition is so common in diabetics.
The damage occurs when pressure caused by high blood glucose levels damages nerve tissues. In diabetics, this commonly starts in the legs and feet. Depending on the nerves that are affected, symptoms can range from pain and numbness to tingling, loss of feeling, and extreme sensitivity to touch.
Foot issues loom large for diabetics because once your foot becomes less sensitive due to neuropathy, you may not notice cuts, sores, and blisters on your feet. Because you’re not treating the problem, bacteria can enter the cut and cause a major infection. In severe cases, this can lead to amputation.
What can you do?
The good news is that although neuropathy is a serious side effect of diabetes, you can often prevent it (or at least slow its progress) through a combination of strict blood sugar control and a healthy lifestyle.
First, use an at-home blood sugar test kit to ensure your blood sugar is staying in the proper range. It’s important to set and keep a schedule for testing so that any blood sugar variations are caught early before they become a big problem.
If you’re diabetic, you should also take good care of your feet to protect their health. Check them every day for blisters, cuts, sores, swelling, etc. Keep them clean, keep your toenails trimmed, and wear comfortable shoes that fit well.
Whether you’re dealing with diabetes, neuropathy, or both, the team at Neuropathy Treatment Clinics of Texas provides expert care for you. Just call the office to set up a consultation, and we can take it from there.
Life is too short to live with the pain of neuropathy — let us help!