Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by abnormally high levels of blood sugar. It happens when the body fails to produce enough insulin, affecting the body’s way of turning food into energy. Diabetes is a long-lasting condition that can affect a person’s quality of life. Untreated high glucose levels may cause severe and irreversible damage to a person’s kidneys, eyes, and liver. This article will focus on the damage caused by diabetes to a person’s nerves, called diabetic neuropathy.
The condition is extremely painful. It is connected to an uncontrolled elevation of blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that high levels of glucose can cause damage to a person’s nerves and blood vessels. Fortunately, diabetic neuropathy can be treated and avoided by adopting a healthier lifestyle, including a regular exercise program and a healthy diet. Medical experts also require patients to limit their alcohol intake and tone down their smoking habits.
There are four types of diabetic neuropathy: focal, proximal, autonomic, and peripheral. Peripheral neuropathy affects the legs and feet, autonomic neuropathy is more common in the digestive system, proximal neuropathy causes pain in the hips and buttocks, and focal neuropathy affects the head and torso nerves.
Tingling Sensation and Numbness
One of the earliest signs of diabetic neuropathy is a tingling sensation in the fingers and toes. Patients described the sensation as something similar to the ticklish feeling of “hundreds of pins and needles” when a numb foot begins to wake up. This symptom may seem harmless initially, but frequent and more intense episodes may lead to painful sensations and hypersensitivity. Patients who experienced hypersensitivity felt pain and discomfort even with the lightest and most gentle touch. They also find it hard to complete simple tasks like changing their shirts, typing, wearing shoes or using a blanket while sleeping because of their very sensitive nerves.
Numbness or loss of sensation is also one of the earliest signs of diabetic neuropathy. It is the result of irritation, compression, or damage to nerves. The intensity of numbness a patient may experience varies from time to time. Sometimes, patients may feel a slight tingle or burn in their hands or feet. Other times, patients may feel extreme numbness and find it hard to move their arms and feet. These episodes can cause panic and may lead to several incidents.