What is diabetic neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy is the result of the action of diabetic disease on nerve fibers. It involves increasing loss of sensation accompanied by physical fatigue.
This is due to the fact that the disease affects multiple nerves at the same time, starting from the feet to the legs and reaching the hands and arms. This nerve disorder usually spreads symmetrically and bilaterally, that is, evenly on both sides of the body.
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy
The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy appear progressively, first affecting the lower extremities with a tingling sensation and pain in the first phase. Subsequently, the condition begins to affect the hands and arms.
Other symptoms may include:
- Intense burning sensation
- Shooting pain during the night
In the most complex cases, the patient may suffer from stomach problems, such as gastric emptying or orthostatic hypotension which, in turn, can create balance problems and cardiac problems.
Finally, one of the most dangerous problems to which diabetic neuropathy is subject is the disappearance of signs that blood sugar levels are low due to dysfunction of adrenaline regulation.
Medical tests for diabetic neuropathy
The tests that should be performed to detect diabetic neuropathic disease do not require special machinery. In fact, diabetic neuropathy is often diagnosed by sensory examination:
- Touch: touching a thin thread and being able to feel it.
- Pain: pinching sensation
- Temperature: being able to detect the sensation of cold or warmth
- Vibration: using a tuning fork
- Position: wiggling toes
If the results are not clear after performing the clinical examination, there is also the possibility of undergoing an electroneurography test to evaluate the connection state of the nerves.
What are the causes of diabetic neuropathy?
The main cause of diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes, such as decreased blood flow and high blood sugar. The chances of suffering from this condition increase if the blood sugar level is not well controlled.
Can it be prevented?
To prevent this pathology, it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle to prevent diabetes, but also to prevent the diseases or complications that can develop from it.
Treatments for diabetic neuropathy
The alterations of the nerve connections are irreversible, so that incisive therapies have not yet been found.
Antidiabetic therapy with the use of insulin helps to restore blood glucose values to an acceptable level. On the other hand, the use of antidepressants, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, capsaicin preparations and vitamin B supplements are also beneficial.
Which specialist treats it?
The specialist in charge of treating diabetic neuropathy is the diabetes specialist and sometimes the endocrinologist.