What is Diabetic Neuropathy?
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 symptoms?
The symptoms for diabetic neuropathy vary depending on the type that you have. There are four main types and each have different symptoms.
What are the risk factors?
Diabetes is the primary risk factor for diabetic neuropathy, but there are others that increase your risk of developing it.
How does it lead to amputation?
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 leg.
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 prevented?
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.