What You Need to Know About Diabetic Neuropathy

Here at Complete Rehab, we specialize in treating neuropathy, or nerve damage that causes pain, numbness, and other symptoms. One of the most common forms of neuropathy is diabetic neuropathy, nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels. In this article, we will go over some key things you should know about this condition in order to recognize and manage your symptoms.

What You Need to Know About Diabetic Neuropathy

Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is most commonly characterized by numbness or pain in the legs and feet, but can also cause problems with your digestive system, blood vessels, urinary tract, and even your heart. Some people experience only mild symptoms, while for others, the symptoms are so severe as to be disabling.

Types of Diabetic Neuropathy

Another thing you should know about diabetic neuropathy is that it can manifest in distinct ways. There are four main types of diabetic neuropathy:

  • Peripheral Neuropathy – This type of neuropathy affects first the feet and legs, then spreads to the hands and arms. It is characterized by numbness or reduced sensation, such as a reduced ability to feel changes in temperature. It can also manifest as tingling or burning, sharp pains or cramps, and foot ulcers or infections.
  • Autonomic Neuropathy – Your autonomic nerves control your heart, bladder, digestive organs, reproductive organs, and your eyes. If they are damaged, you may experience bowel or bladder problems, changes in appetite, vomiting, decreased sexual response, or changes in vision.
  • Proximal Neuropathy – This form of diabetic neuropathy affects the nerves in the thighs, hips, legs, and buttocks, and sometimes, the abdominal and chest areas as well. In many cases, patients experience symptoms on just one side of the body, but others find that the symptoms spread to the other side over time. Typical symptoms include severe pain in any of the areas listed, weak and shrinking muscles in the thighs, and difficulty standing up.
  •  Focal Neuropathy – Focal neuropathy refers to damage to a specific nerve, and it may lead to double vision or difficulty focusing, paralysis on one side of the face, and weakness in your hands.