Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder caused by diabetes. The symptoms of the disorder can include the numbing and/or pain in the hands, feet, or legs. Because diabetic neuropathy can cause nerve damage, it can also lead to problems with the internal organs such as the heart, digestive system, and sexual organs causing indigestion, diarrhea or constipation, dizziness, bladder infections and even impotence.
Diabetic neuropathy can flare up without warning it is very complicated for sufferers to deal with. Many sufferers find they have sudden weakness and/or weight loss, along with depression. While there are a few treatments available, there still needs to be a considerable amount of research done to understand how the disorder affects the nerves.
The disorder can come as it pleases. The neuropathy can develop within the first ten years after a diabetes diagnosis and the chances of contracting diabetic neuropathy actually increases the longer a person has diabetes. Studies have shown that sixty percent of diabetes patients have some form of neuropathy, and frighteningly enough, up to forty percent of those cases have no symptoms. It appears that this form of the disease is more common in smokers, people over forty years of age, and those who have had problems controlling their glucose levels.
No one seems to know what causes the disorder, but it seems that many things contribute to the disorder. High amounts of blood glucose have a direct effect on diabetic neuropathy. High levels of glucose create chemical changes in nerves, which also impair the nerves’ ability to transmit signals. How the high blood glucose levels affect and lead to nerve damage is still a subject of research. While researchers have found that the levels affect the metabolic pathways in the nerves, the precise mechanism of the disorder is still unknown.
Researchers have also found that with diabetic neuropathy the amount of nitrous oxide in the nerves changes. People with diabetes have a higher chance of nerve damage with low levels of nitrous oxide, therefore scientists are find this area of research very promising as to the real reason why this disorder happens, and how to heal patients who have it.
Treating diabetic neuropathy is not really ‘treatment’ but more ‘easing’. The current treatment regimen is supposed to relieve discomfort and prevent further tissue damage. Because doctors, researchers, and scientists do not know exactly what causes the disorder, it is difficult to find a ‘cure.’ Surely, more research done on the disorder will eventually find a real cure and relief for sufferers of the disorder.
The first step of the treatment is to bring blood glucose levels under control by diet, oral drugs, and/or injections. It is also important to take special care of the feet, which the disorder poses a significant threat to. It has been noted that maintaining a lower blood sugar can actually help reverse the pain or loss of sensation that diabetic neuropathy can cause. Good control of blood sugar helps to prevent or delay the onset of further problems.
What is Diabetic Neuropathy
Early Axonal Dysfunction Precedes Diabetic Neuropathy. Doctors Lounge. Early axonal dysfunction may be detected prior to the development of clinical symptoms of diabetic neuropathy according to a study published online April 20 in Diabetes. FRIDAY April 27 HealthDay News Early axonal dysfunction may be detected. Early Axonal Dysfunction Precedes Diabetic Neuropathy Doctors Lounge