the perils of diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Diabetics need to be aware of the fact that their continuous state of elevated blood sugar levels can cause various complications in the long run. The perils of diabetic peripheral neuropathy is one such complication that needs to be taken into consideration and timely steps needed if patients want to limit the damage done by this debilitating complication.

Diabetic neuropathies can mount a stealth attack on a diabetic’s body and he or she might only notice it if the symptoms become pronounced. Hence, regular checkups and tests should form a part of any diabetic’s routine. Diabetic neuropathies can attack in the form of Focal, Autonomic, Proximal or Peripheral neuropathy depending on the organ that is affected. It is caused due to poor blood circulation and nerve damage brought along by diabetes. This, in turn affects the organ’s ability to receive signals from the brain while starving surrounding nerves of vital oxygen. Therefore, the activities of important organs such as the heart, kidneys, lungs, eyes, hands, feet, fingers and toes can get inversely affected and if not detected and treated on time, can also result in permanent disability.

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves of the legs, feet, hands, arms, toes and fingers. Diabetics might notice tingling, cutting or searing pain and numbness in these organs. They might also experience muscle spasms that might prevent them from sleeping peacefully or carrying on their daily activities. Their neuropathy can be identified when they get their tests conducted at any reputed hospital. The test might include an electromyography or emg test, which involves subjecting the patient’s affected parts to electrical impulses and measuring the response. Along with other tests, a doctor could come to a conclusive conclusion regarding the severity of the peripheral neuropathy.

While there are no cures for peripheral neuropathy, surgery could be an option only if certain nerves are found to be compressed and trapped in a narrow section leading to the feet or hands. Usually a combination of antidepressant and anticonvulsive medicines along with a topical cream for the affected areas is recommended by doctors. Along with it, an intensive physical therapy or PT and an occupational therapy or OT program is also recommended so that diabetics learn to exercise and maintain the affected areas on their own. An alternative medicine such as alpha lipoic acid, which is an antioxidant too has shown promising results and can be taken by humans as well as most pets except cats. The diabetic’s doctor might be able to chart out the right course of treatment and slow down the ill-effects of diabetic peripheral neuropathy if it is not detected at a very late stage.

Hence, diabetics need to be constantly alert to any neuropathies that might try to affect the functioning of their vital organs by going in for regular tests. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy can eventually affect around half the diabetics that have diabetes over a long period and hence timely checkups and a close eye on the hands, feet, fingers and toes should help diabetics detect and treat this complication before it reaches the amputation stage. A healthy diet along with regular exercise with routine insulin monitoring systems, daily hand and foot inspections and regular checkups will ensure that diabetics manage to keep such complications at bay for a very long time.

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