Diabetic neuropathy is one of the ramifications of diabetes. It is a nerve disorder which can lead to all kinds of problems in unrelated parts throughout the body. Diabetics are prone to nerve problems at any time of their lives, but clinical neuropathy is most likely to manifest itself within ten years of initial diagnosis of diabetes.
Roughly fifty per cent of diabetics have some attribute of neuropathy.
Diabetic neuropathy has diverse symptoms ranging from numbness or pain in the hands, feet or legs, to other problems with internal organs including those of the digestive tract. This in turn can result in diarrhea or constipation and weight loss.
Diabetic neuropathy comes in different forms; diffuse neuropathy affects the nerves in the extremities (feet, hands, arms and legs); diffuse autonomic neuropathy which affects nerves related to internal organs including those of the digestive system; and focal neuropathy which can result in severe pain in the thighs, lower back or pelvis.
The precise cause of diabetic neuropathy remains unknown though it is believed that many factors are contributory. Some of them are:
- Inherited factors that make some more susceptible than others.
- High blood sugar results in chemical changes in the nerves and suppresses the ability of the nerves to transmit signals. It can also damage blood vessels which transport oxygen and nutrients to the nerves.
Treatment depends on different prevailing conditions and the severity of the condition. The objective is to relieve pain and halt further damage of tissue. If the gastrointestinal tract is affected, this is also treated.
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