Diabetes affects your life in various ways. When your blood sugar isn't under control, it leads to chronic conditions, including diabetic neuropathy.
When you have neuropathy, you don't feel sensations in your lower extremities due to nerve damage from chronically high blood sugar levels.
At Delmarva Pain and Spine Center, our team specializes in various conditions that cause pain, including neuropathy. Dr. Sachi Patel is our pain management specialist. She provides you with customized treatments when neuropathy is affecting your life.
Neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves in your body. Diabetic neuropathy is a consequence of high blood sugar when you have diabetes.
Your legs and feet are most often affected when you have diabetic neuropathy. However, nerve damage can happen to other areas of your body, along with your internal organs.
There are multiple symptoms associated with neuropathy that range in severity. Your symptoms may affect any area in your body and can include the following:
- Foot issues
- Erectile dysfunction
- Bladder infections
- Vaginal dryness
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy often come on gradually as your nerves slowly become damaged. You may not have any symptoms in the early stages of the disease.
What causes diabetic neuropathy?
High blood sugar is the leading cause of diabetic neuropathy. Over time, the elevated glucose levels in your blood damage your nerves by altering chemicals. The change in the substances affects how the nerves send signals to one another.
High blood sugar also damages the blood vessels that supply your nerves with oxygen and nutrients. When your nerves aren't receiving an adequate blood supply, they don't work as well and suffer permanent damage.
If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, you're at an increased risk for diabetic neuropathy. High blood pressure and high cholesterol also affect your blood vessels, causing nerve damage from decreased blood flow.
Lowering your risk
The single most effective way to reduce your risk of diabetic neuropathy is to control your blood sugar. Chronically high blood glucose levels are a significant contributor to diabetic neuropathy.
Dr. Patel helps you understand how to manage your blood sugar through lifestyle changes and medication. Other steps she suggests to prevent diabetic neuropathy include:
- Manage your blood pressure
- Don't smoke
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Lose weight if needed
- Get regular exercise
- Follow a healthy diet
If Dr. Patel prescribes you medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other chronic medical condition, make sure you take it as prescribed. Taking your medications regularly helps you avoid complications such as neuropathy.
You should also check your feet regularly if you have diabetes. Neuropathy can sneak up on you without warning and doesn't always show until you have a slow-healing sore.
Be vigilant in keeping your feet dry, not walking barefoot, and inspecting your feet for cuts or sores daily.
When you do have symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, Dr. Patel offers several treatments to ease your discomfort. Along with lifestyle changes, she provides physical therapy, medications, and nerve blocks as treatments for this disease.
If you have symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, don't hesitate to call our office today at 302-355-0900 to schedule a consultation. You can also book an appointment with Dr. Patel on the website.