What exactly is diabetic neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy is the kind of damage that diabetes inflicts on the nervous system. This nerve damage can show up as diverse symptoms ranging from pain and numbness in the legs and feet, issues with the digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart. Getting treatment at the right time can slow down the progression.
Various types of diabetic neuropathy
This is the most common form of diabetic neuropathy and manifests on the feet and legs first and then the hands and arms. Some of the key symptoms are numbness, cramps, sharp pain, weakness in the muscles, loss of reflexes, lack of balance and co-ordination, bone and joint pain, foot problems like ulcers and infections and more.
The autonomic nervous system controls areas such as your stomach, intestines, heart, bladder, sex organs and eyes. When diabetes affects this, there are likely to be symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, bladder problems, low sugar and more. Other issues that may arise are excessive or less sweating, body temperature control problems and changes in how eyes adjust to darkness and light. It may also affect the sexual organs and there could be less of sexual response, vaginal dryness and erectile dysfunction.
Radiculoplexus neuropathy (diabetic amyotrophy)
This impacts nerves in the thighs, hips, buttocks or legs and those with type 2 diabetes and older adults are more prone to this. This is also known as diabetic amyotrophy, femoral neuropathy or proximal neuropathy.
Usually, symptoms start in just one side of the body but can spread. Typical symptoms are acute pain in a hip and thigh or buttock that lasts for a day or more, trouble getting up from a sitting position, abdominal swelling, weight loss and weak and shrinking thigh muscles.
This refers to damage of any individual nerve. Depending on the type of the nerve, pain might be experienced at the shin or foot, front of the thigh, abdomen, chest, lower back or pelvis. This could also create problems in the eyes and face such as trouble focusing, double vision, aching behind one eye or paralysis of one side of the face.