Diabetes : High Blood Sugar Can Damage Nerves

Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage from high blood sugar in patients with diabetes. Any nerve or nerves of the body can be affected, said Dr Sudhanshu Singh, Specialist Endocrinologist, Zulekha Hospital, Dubai.

Patients with poor control of sugar and long history of diabetes are more likely to get affected. Many patients with long history of diabetes have damage in nerves but they may not have any symptoms.

Most common type of diabetic neuropathy affects feet and hands and known as distal polyneuropathy and affects the sensitivity of feet, legs, hands, and arms. Common symptoms are pain, tingling, burning, numbness, muscle weakness.

Skin ulcers can happen because of loss of sensations as feet can be injured without even pain and it may worsen with time and even become very big ulcer without pain sensation even leading to amputation.

Another type is autonomic neuropathy which affects urinary tract, digestive system, sex organs, sweat glands, eyes and heart. It presents with erectile dysfunction in men and sexual problems in women, bladder problems (loss of bladder control, unable to empty the bladder, frequent urinary tract infections), digestive system problems (bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation). Other common symptoms are postural dizziness (dizziness on standing).

So it is very important to consult the doctor as soon as possible if you have diabetes with numbness or pain in your feet, legs, hands, or arms, ulcer on your foot or leg that is not healing.

Good blood glucose control is very important to prevent any damage to nerves and if damage is already started, it can help in preventing further damage. It is very difficult to reverse damage which is already there but pain and burning symptoms can be treated.

The problems related to diabetic neuropathy can be treated and prevented by sugar control, healthy diet, exercise, healthy weight, smoking cessation, stopping alcohol. You can prevent foot ulcers by following simple daily habits like checking feet with the help of mirror daily for any redness, bruises, blisters, cracked skin, calluses, cuts, and ulcer.

Don't walk bare feet and always wear good fitting shoes and slippers, wash your feet with normal temperature water and dry them and apply moisturizer.

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