Diabetes is a metabolic condition characterized by increased blood sugar levels. This increase in blood sugar level is either because of the ineffectiveness of the insulin hormone or because the body fails to produce insulin in adequate quantity. Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy or DPN is nerve damage, the cause of which is high blood sugar levels. If you want to learn more about Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, consider reaching out to DPN Paid Clinical Trials.
In this blog, we will be discussing Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy or DPN symptoms, causes, treatment, and a lot more.
What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy refers to nerve damage that causes numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. It is most commonly observed in the feet and legs but other parts of the body are also affected. Neuropathy is caused by high levels of blood sugar level or fat. Nerves play a major role in the body, they send messages and allow an individual to move and feel things. If these nerves are damaged, it can severely impact one’s quality of life.
Types of Diabetic Neuropathy
Several types of Neuropathy can have an impact on the body systems, these include:
- Peripheral Neuropathy: As the name suggests, peripheral neuropathy affects the feet and hands. It is the most common type.
- Autonomic Neuropathy: It affects the involuntary systems of the body like digestion, urination, and heart rate.
- Proximal Neuropathy: It affects the nerves along the chest wall and thoracic region
- Mononeuropathies: These can damage any individual nerve and the area surrounding it. It is also called focal neuropathy.
What Other Factors Cause Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy or DPN?
Besides the major cause of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which is high blood sugar levels, there are other causes, such as:
- Mechanical injury,
- High cholesterol, and
- Vitamin B12 deficiency.
What Are The Symptoms to Look For?
Some of the prominent features of diabetic peripheral neuropathy or DPN are:
- Tingling or burning,
- Inability to lift things because of the numbness,
- Muscle weakness,
- Pins and needles sensation,
- Intense pain,
- Sensitivity to touch, and
- Prone to foot ulcers, infections, and joints problems.
Other odd symptoms of DPN include:
- Contact responsiveness,
- Balance issues, and
- Muscle shortcomings.
DPN symptoms tend to worsen at night time.
What Causes Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy or DPN?
The exact cause of diabetic peripheral neuropathy is not yet established. However, according to studies, uncontrolled sugar levels in the blood are responsible for causing different types of neuropathies. It damages the nerves responsible for sending signals, resulting in diabetic peripheral neuropathy or DPN.
Risk Factors of DPN
Anyone with uncontrolled diabetes may have neuropathy. But people with these risk factors are more prone to having diabetic peripheral neuropathy or DPN. These include:
- Diabetes history,
- Kidney disease, and
Complications With Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy or DPN
DPN can cause a number of complications including:
Loss of a toe, leg, or foot:
Due to nerve damage, the sensations are lost, and even minor scratches can turn into sores and ulcers. In severe cases, the infection can spread to other parts like bone and cause tissue death. This may lead to the amputation of the leg, toe, or foot.
Blood sugar levels below 3.9mmol/L cause shakiness, sweating, and loss of energy. People with autonomic neuropathy are not aware of these signs.
When the nerves governing the urinary bladder are damaged, the bladder may have difficulty emptying leading to a build-up of bacteria which causes infection.
Drops in blood pressure:
When the nerves controlling blood pressure are damaged, it affects the body’s ability to control and adjust the blood pressure levels. This may lead to sudden drops in blood pressure.
In order to be healthy, it is very important to keep a check on your blood sugar levels and let your doctor know of any unusual symptoms. ADA advises an A1C level of less than 7.0% but it may vary from person to person, contingent upon diet and lifestyle changes.
HbA1C assists in calculating average blood sugar level over the span of 2-3 months.
In addition to that certain other preventive measures include:
- Foot care,
- Blood sugar management,
- Mental health care, and
- Diet and lifestyle modifications.
How Does Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Impact Quality of Life?
As with any complex condition the quality of life is affected by DPN too. It affects our day-to-day tasks. It also deprives one of the sense of freedom and independence to live life on their own. In severe cases, you start relying on others and it just impacts your confidence to a great extent. For the most part, you are not used to relying upon others but the disease makes you do so. It is essential to accept your condition and move forward by planning out activities that could help improve your overall well-being.
Look After Your Mental Health
Living with such a debilitating condition can be very challenging at times. The pain and inability to perform the basic tasks take a toll on you and you need support. It is okay to give time to your emotions and sit with them. However, asking for help and support is important if you think you cannot deal with it all by yourself. Here is what you can do:
- Join support groups,
- Take therapy to relieve your anxiety,
- Make a schedule that involves healthy activities,
- Go out for a walk and observe nature, and
- Take out time for yourself no matter how busy your life is, nothing is more important than your health.
Treatment for Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy or DPN
DPN has no definite cure. The main goal is to:
- Slow the progression: by maintaining your blood sugar levels in range.
- Alleviate pain: through pain killers. This may include anti-seizure drugs and antidepressants that are used to ease the nerve pain along with their primary role.
- Address complications and restore normal functions: as discussed above, DPN may cause certain complications such as urinary tract infections and digestive system problems. It is important to discuss symptoms with your physician to manage the complications in time.
How Effective Is Physiotherapy in Easing DPN Symptoms?
Studies suggest strength training can assist in improving muscle function and alleviating neuropathy-related pain. Physiotherapy can also help in lowering blood sugar levels to avoid complications. Therefore, exercise has a major role in improving physical health and strengthening muscles. But, diabetics should take care of their blood sugar levels during and after a workout, as it tends to fluctuate.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy, often known as DPN, can be quite taxing because it significantly affects daily activities. Keeping note of your symptoms is crucial if you want to lower your risk of developing peripheral neuropathy.
Along with helping tone your muscles, having regular physical activity also helps to reduce the incidence of neuropathy by promoting healthy blood flow to the extremities. In addition to that, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your mental health also help to reduce the risk of uncontrolled diabetes.
If you are interested to know more about the condition and are open to considering potential treatment options, try reaching out to clinical research organization in texas. There are various organizations working to find a potential treatment for diabetic peripheral neuropathy or DPN.