Diabetics need to keep a strict watch over fluctuating blood sugar levels since irregular testing can hasten several complications such as diabetic neuropathy, which affects the nerves of various organs of the patient’s body such as hands, feet, eyes, kidneys, etc. Here are some numbing facts about diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetics that are constantly in a state of hyperglycemia, i.e. increased levels of blood sugar levels can find themselves losing sensation in one or various parts of their body. This can also be accompanied by tingling, or even searing or cutting pain in those organs, which is caused by damaged nerves and dwindling blood supplies. This is known as diabetic neuropathy. Diabetics that smoke or drink excess alcohol, or have abnormal fat cells are susceptible to these complications along with those that might have suffered nerve inflammation or damage due to other reasons. These sensations are further split into different neuropathies depending on the organs affected.
Hence, if a diabetic suffers from digestive problems or impaired functions of the bowel or bladder or even suffers from sexual dysfunctions, then this is known as autonomic neuropathy. The patient can also suffer if the nerves to the heart, lungs or eyes are affected. On the other hand, if a diabetic has pain in the buttocks, thighs or hips, which in turn leads to weakness in the legs, then he or she could be suffering from proximal neuropathy. If a diabetic feels searing or cutting pain accompanied by numbness in the hands, feet, toes or arms, then this could be a case of peripheral neuropathy, while in focal neuropathy, any nerve or group of nerves can be affected in a diabetic’s body.
Unfortunately, diabetics often confuse the symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and weakness with other diseases or symptoms of low blood sugar levels and only rush to their doctor when the symptoms become unbearable. By this time, the affected organs might have suffered permanent damage. While some forms of neuropathy can be cured by surgery, such as cataracts, etc, others cannot be cured and doctors might suggest diabetics to maintain a tight control over their blood glucose levels along with adequate exercises to retain vital muscle.
Antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid have shown to reduce inflammation and pain in different studies in Europe. These are available in tablet or capsule form and can be used by humans and pets such as dogs, horses and hamsters to not only lessen the pain caused by diabetic neuropathy, but also to achieve a little balance in blood sugar levels, although many hospitals and doctors still consider this antioxidant as alternative therapy. However, these cannot be used on cats since this antioxidant causes a toxic reaction in their liver.
Hence, diabetics should take extreme care to ensure that their blood sugar levels remain within the permitted safe limits. They should follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly and not wait until the end stages to report any complications to their doctor. Diabetic neuropathy is a crippling fact that should not be ignored by diabetics and treatment should be started immediately instead of waiting until it is too late.
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