Food, HEALTH/FOOD

What You Need To Know About Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes is one of the chronic diseases which is increasing in prevalence (occurrence) despite the availability of prevention messages, dietary guidelines, new and improved diagnostics and medications.

Photo Credit: Blausen.com staff. "Blausen gallery 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762 - Illustration depicting areas affected by diabetic neuropathy.
Photo Credit: Blausen.com staff. “Blausen gallery 2014”. Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762 – Illustration depicting areas affected by diabetic neuropathy.

Of note approximately 8% of the world’s population is affected by diabetes. Chronic uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to serious and damaging complications of diabetes. Damage to sensory and motor nerves results in a wide group of illnesses called Diabetic Neuropathy.

For years doctors, nurses, and dietitians have stress the importance of controlling the blood sugar levels but much more information and advice need to be given to diabetics and their care-givers.

Poorly controlled diabetes, over a period of time damages blood vessels, nerves and tissues and so major organs are also affected and eventually compromised. These main organs include the:

  • Skin — loss of sensation, hypersensitivity, dry skin
  • Eyes — poor vision, blindness
  • Peripheral nerves
    • Feet — chronic pain, ulcers
    • Legs — chronic pain, ulcers
  • Autonomic nervous systems
    • Stomach — sensations of fullness, vomiting
    • Intestines — diarrhea, constipation
    • Heart — heart disease
    • Kidneys — kidney failure
    • Sexual organs and functions: impotence

Many persons do understand the link between poorly controlled diabetes and foot ulcers (sores). Peripheral neuropathy is the most important fact leading to foot ulceration and lower limbs amputations (surgical removal of a non-viable limb or digits).

What is even more alarming is that some diabetic neuropathic patients may be completely asymptomatic and unaware of their risk for foot injury. This is because diabetic neuropathy results in the loss of sensation in the feet. Pressure sores can then develop and deteriorate before the patient becomes aware and accesses medical care. Failure to act in a timely manner leads to infections and ultimately surgical amputation of digits and limb(s).

Tips to prevent or arrest Diabetic Neuropathy

  • The most important prophylaxis to prevent diabetic neuropathy is strict glucose control.
  • Check your feet daily for cracks, fissures, bruises
  • Moisturize feet after each bath or shower
  • Wear comfortable shoes which are wide and have soft interior. Ladies should forego high heels for practical low and moderate heel shoes

Hello_docjam, Readers Bureau, Fellow

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