Diabetes and Neuropathy: How Are They Linked?

Diabetes is a condition that causes your blood sugar levels to be higher than normal, affecting more than 30 million Americans. Neuropathy occurs as a result of damage to your nerves and affects about 25-30% of all people in the United States. So why do these two conditions go hand-in-hand?

At Neurology Consultants of Arizona in Scottsdale, board-certified neurologist, Luay Shayya, MD, and the rest of our team are experts in understanding the link between diabetes and neuropathy. Studies show that one-third to a half of all diabetics develop what’s called diabetic neuropathy.

If you’re a Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic, your ongoing high sugar levels can cause damage to your nervous system and allow neuropathy to set in over time. 

Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy usually develop slowly and can vary depending on where you’re affected. Common signs you might feel in your hands or feet include:

If you have autonomic neuropathy, you might experience dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Additional symptoms can affect your vision, bladder, reproductive system, sweat glands, and heart rate.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s imperative that you schedule an appointment with our team. You don’t want your condition to worsen and cause greater risk to your health. For example, in certain cases you could develop infections or wounds that won’t heal, which could result in the need for amputation.

Treatment for diabetic neuropathy

Once our team examines you and gives you an accurate diagnosis, we offer treatment to decrease the progression of your condition and relieve your symptoms.

Our first treatment targets the management of your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. 

To manage your pain, one of our options includes electrical nerve stimulation. To reduce several of your other symptoms, we may recommend oral or topical medications, or we may need to perform a nerve block, depending on the severity of your condition.

We also give you tips on how to take care of your feet effectively to ward off any future complications. If you smoke or drink in excess, we encourage you to quit smoking and limit your alcohol intake.

To learn more about diabetic neuropathy and get treatment for your condition, call Dr. Shayya and our team today or schedule an appointment online. Please feel free to send us a message if you have any questions before your visit.

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