What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?

After a diabetes diagnosis, most people make some changes. You might adjust your diet and try to get more exercise, for example. But you can’t stop there. 

Because diabetes can cause complications, you need to be on the lookout for other issues. For example, about half of everyone with diabetes will have to contend with a condition called diabetic neuropathy. 

That’s why Dr. Jonathan D. Carlson and our team offer dedicated neuropathy care at Hawai’i Pain and Spine on the Windward side of O’ahu in Kailua. With lifestyle changes and treatment, we can help you moderate your symptoms and protect yourself from further complications.

So, what is diabetic neuropathy? 

Diabetic neuropathy 101

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage. It develops because the high levels of sugar in your blood can hurt your nerves. 

Diabetic neuropathy comes in four different forms

Peripheral neuropathy is the most common. Most people experience diabetic peripheral neuropathy symptoms in their feet and legs, but this type of peripheral neuropathy can also impact your arms and hands. 

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:

On their own, these symptoms can be uncomfortable. But the biggest issues with diabetic neuropathy usually develop because of the lessened sensitivity that this kind of nerve damage causes. 

Complications of diabetic neuropathy

Because neuropathy can mean losing feeling in your feet, some people don’t realize that they have a blister, cut, or other issue on their foot. This gets more problematic because diabetes can slow your body’s healing response. 

These slow-healing foot problems — called diabetic ulcers — have a high risk of getting infected. And the complication can grow from there. In fact, this is precisely the issue behind foot amputations in people with diabetes. 

Protecting yourself from diabetic neuropathy problems

Fortunately, a simple daily habit can go a long way toward preventing issues with diabetic neuropathy. People with diabetes should get in the habit of checking their feet at least once a day. This way, you’ll see wounds right away. And that means you can treat them — like bandaging them and keeping the area clean and dry. This limits your risk of infection, minimizing the fallout from this diabetes complication.

Plus, Dr. Carlson can help. He offers dedicated treatment for neuropathy to minimize any uncomfortable symptoms you experience. He tailors a treatment plan for you based on your neuropathy symptoms. 

You treatments might include:

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, check your feet daily and watch out for numbness, tingling, and other changes in your extremities. If you experience symptoms from your diabetic neuropathy, don’t hesitate to call our office to schedule an appointment today. 

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