Diabetes can damage nerves throughout your body. In fact diabetic neuropathy (neuro- means nerves; -pathy means disease or suffering) is the most common, chronic complication of diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association.1 It affects 60-70% of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.
Diabetic neuropathy can be extremely painful. It can also pave the way for health-threatening and even life-threatening problems including foot ulcers, amputations, heart attacks, digestion problems and difficulty recognizing low blood sugar episodes. While it cannot be cured, smart lifestyle steps may prevent diabetic neuropathy for some people and slow its progression for others. Medications and other approaches can treat symptoms, such as pain. And awareness—through steps like good foot care, regular foot exams and telling your doctor about other symptoms—can help prevent this blood-sugar-related nerve damage from spiraling into even more serious health issues.
The best-known type of diabetic neuropathy is called diabetic peripheral neuropathy. It can cause burning, stabbing or electric-shock-type pain or tingling in your feet, legs, hands or arms. The pain may be worse at night; treatment options range from over-the-counter patches to prescription drugs.
But there’s growing evidence that diabetes causes deeper nerve damage that affects more people with high blood sugar than experts once understood…
Image Credit: Alias Studio Sydney
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