Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

What is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage caused by diabetes specifically affecting the arms, hands, legs and feet. Patients report tingling or burning sensations in the early stages and numbness as the disease progresses. 

Causes

The exact cause of diabetic peripheral neuropathy remains unknown, but occurrence of the disease is greater in patients with a long history of diabetes, or those which have uncontrolled or poorly managed diabetes. However, diabetic peripheral neuropathy has also been noted even in patients with well managed diabetes who show optimal blood glucose levels.

Dangers arise more commonly in the later stages, where numbness and lack of sensation in the extremities occurs. Because of this lack of sensation patients may not realize they have suffered a minor cut or sore, which can easily lead to infection if left untreated.  

Symptoms

The following are symptoms associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy: 

  • Burning - a burning sensation in the feet is common.  

  • Pain - pain and discomfort in the feet and legs. 

  • Numbness - lack of sensation in the feet is reported in advanced cases. 

Treatments

Treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy is firstly the control and well regulated maintenance of diabetes and blood glucose levels. Other treatments may include: 

  • Medications - medicines to control burning and tingling sensations can be prescribed by your podiatrist.  

  • Physical Therapy - may be recommended, especially to those patients whose lack of sensation in the feet and legs has lead to balance issues.

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