If you have diabetes, a type of nerve damage called diabetic
neuropathy may occur. It is caused by a large amount of blood sugar in your
system that injures nerves throughout your body. High blood pressure also
weakens the walls of small blood vessels that supply the nerves with oxygen and
nutrients, according to Mayo Clinic.
What are the
The symptoms for diabetic neuropathy vary depending on the
type that you have. There are four main types and each have different symptoms.
This is the most common type. It first affects
the feet and legs then moves on to the hands and arms. Symptoms may be worse at
night. Symptoms include:
Numbness, temperature changes in feet or legs,
loss of feeling
Tingling or burning in nerve damaged area
Pains or cramps
Sensitive to touch
Loss of reflexes
Ulcers, infections, bone and joint pain
The autonomic nervous system controls many parts
of your body including; heart, bladder, stomach, intestines, sex organs and eyes. If
diabetes affects these nerves it could possible cause:
Unawareness of low blood sugar
Constipation or uncontrolled diarrhea
Gastroparesis or slow stomach emptying
Increase heart rate at rest
Difficulty with eyes adjusting to light
Light headedness or faintness after sitting or
standing due to sharp drops in blood pressure
Decrease sexual response
Radiculoplexus Neuropathy (diabetic amyotrophy)
This type of neuropathy affects the nerves in
the thighs and hips, as well as buttocks or legs. Symptoms are usually on one
side of the body and are more common in older adults with type 2 diabetes.
Severe pain in hip, thigh or buttocks
Weakness and shrinking thigh muscles
This nerve damage is specific to nerves in the
face, torso or leg. It can strike suddenly and cause severe pain, but usually
does not leave lasting effects. Symptoms include:
Pain in the shin or foot
Lower back or pelvis
Front of thigh
Chest or abdomen
Aching behind the eye
Paralysis on one side of the face
What are the risk
Diabetes is the primary risk factor for diabetic neuropathy,
but there are others that increase your risk of developing it.
disease: Kidney damage, caused by diabetes, sends toxins into the blood,
which may lead to nerve damage.
overweight: Having a body mass index of greater than 24 constitutes as being
overweight. This can increase your risk of diabetic neuropathy.
Smoking narrows your arteries reducing blood flow to your feet and legs. This
makes wounds harder to heal and can cause nerve damage to your feet and legs.
How does it lead to
Having nerve damage due to neuropathy can severely impact
feeling in your legs or feet. This can
worsen a patient’s ability to feel or recognize a small cut on their foot. If
the wound is left untreated it can cause infections that spread to the bone,
and ulcers can lead to tissue death. In
many cases, this results in loss of toes, foot or even the lower parts of the
Amputation is NOT your only option. If you are told this,
please call 904.493.3333 to see how the Amputation Prevention Center at First
Coast Cardiovascular Institute can help you.
How can it be
Luckily, there are ways to prevent or delay diabetic neuropathy.
This first way is to check your blood
and glucose level regularly. This is the number one tactic you can do to reduce your risk
of amputation. Another important tactic is to check
your feet and legs every day. Before getting into bed do a
quick check for cuts or wounds. You may not feel a wound happen, so it is
important to check before it becomes too late. Grab a hand mirror to make sure
you can examine your entire foot.