If an individual has been diagnosed with diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, which is a type of nerve damage, can occur. Diabetic patients experience high blood sugar levels, which can damage the nerves throughout their bodies. Most often, diabetic neuropathy affects the nerves in the legs and feet.
The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy depend on the affected nerves and can range from experiencing numbness and pain in the legs and feet to issues with the urinary tract, digestive system, the heart, and blood vessels.
Some diabetic patients experience mild symptoms of diabetic nerve pain. However, for most, the symptoms of diabetic nerve pain are extremely severe and painful.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from diabetes, they need to be aware of the symptoms of nerve pain so that they can proactively manage their condition:
There are four main types of diabetic nerve pain that you should know about — Peripheral Neuropathy, Autonomic Neuropathy, Radiculoplexus Neuropathy, and Mononeuropathy. It is possible to have more than one type of diabetic nerve pain symptom. In most cases, the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy develop over time.
You may not notice that you have developed a form of diabetic neuropathy until its symptoms become worse. By that point, you are looking at significant nerve damage.
For this reason, it is crucial for you to recognize the symptoms of each type of diabetic neuropathy, so that you can seek medical assistance before it aggravates.
Here are the four main types of diabetic nerve pain and their symptoms that you can develop if you have diabetes:
Out of the other three types of diabetic nerve pain, peripheral neuropathy is the most common one. Most diabetic patients are likely to develop this type of diabetic nerve pain than the other three. Peripheral neuropathy affects the legs and feet first and then the arms and hands. The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy tend to worsen at night. The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
Autonomic neuropathy affects the autonomic nervous system, which controls your bladder, heart, intestines, eyes, sex organs, and stomach. If you have diabetes and you develop autonomic neuropathy, you are likely to experience the following symptoms:
Radiculoplexus neuropathy or diabetic amyotrophy affects the nerves in your buttocks, legs, hips, or thighs. People with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of developing radiculoplexus neuropathy than people with type 1 diabetes.
Other names for radiculoplexus neuropathy include proximal neuropathy or femoral amyotrophy, but the most common name is diabetic amyotrophy. Most people experience an improvement in the symptoms over time, but the symptoms usually worsen before they can become better. Here is a list of symptoms a person who has developed radiculoplexus neuropathy may experience:
Mononeuropathy, also known as focal neuropathy, occurs when a certain nerve in the face or middle of the body, which is the torso, or leg becomes damaged. Older adults with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing mononeuropathy.
People tend to develop mononeuropathy suddenly and can result in severe pain, but it does not cause any long-term issues. After a few weeks or months of treatment, the symptoms of mononeuropathy usually disappear. The symptoms you experience depend on which nerve was affected. The symptoms of mononeuropathy include:
You should schedule an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of the following things:
If you have developed diabetic nerve pain, you need to start caring for your hands and feet. Inspect your feet daily for sores, cuts, swelling, and other issues. It does not matter if the pain is present or not, you still need to check your feet. If the infection remains untreated, it can cause serious problems down the line, including amputation.
Also, make sure to wash your feet with warm water, drying them completely with a towel. Apply lotion to both your hands and feet in order to keep them moisturized. When applying lotion to your feet, avoiding getting it between your toes.
You should wear flexible and comfortable shoes to give your feet enough breathing space to move around. If you have bought new shoes, you need to break into them slowly, so they do not hurt your feet. You can ask your doctor about buying customized shoes if regular shoes do not fit you properly. You should always cover your feet with slippers, thick socks, and shoes to cushion them and prevent an injury.
If you have not developed diabetic nerve pain, you need to take preventive measures to ensure that you never do by ensuring your blood sugar level is under control. Talk to your doctor about the type of diet, exercise, and treatments you should receive if you already have developed diabetic nerve pain. There is no cure for diabetic nerve pain, so all you can do is take steps to reduce the pain and keep it from getting worse.