Diabetic Neuropathy 

Neuropathy due to a diabetic condition that causes high blood sugar (glucose), which can lead to damaged blood vessels and nerves over time.

Overview

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of neuropathy that occurs when one has diabetes. Diabetes causes high blood sugar (glucose), damaging blood vessels and nerves over time. This then in turn causes symptoms of neuropathy. At BEST Health System, we strongly believe in patient education. Learning about your condition will make you better equipped to handle symptoms or make decisions based on knowledge such as if you need surgery. Read more if you’d like to learn more about diabetic neuropathy as well as its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and surgical options.

Causes of Diabetic Neuropathy

The exact cause of diabetic neuropathy is for the most part unknown and researchers are still learning about what can cause it. A lot of factors go into play when it comes to diabetic neuropathy and there are several things that may lead to it. These include:

  • High blood sugar. High blood sugar (glucose) causes chemical changes in nerves. This makes it harder for the nerves to send signals. It can also harm blood vessels that send oxygen and nutrients to the nerves.

  • Your genes. Some genes can raise the risk for nerve disease. Autoantibodies to nerve tissue may cause other damage.

Treatment Options

There are plenty of conservative treatments for diabetic neuropathy that can provide you with the pain relief you need to get back to your daily activities. There isn’t a one-stop solution to diabetic neuropathy nor is there one treatment to cure it. Keeping this in mind, the main goal of treatment is to ease pain and discomfort while also preventing more tissue damage. Treatment may include:

  • Pain medicines
  • Antidepressants that act on the nervous system to ease pain and discomfort
  • Creams you put on your skin
  • Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy
  • Hypnosis
  • Relaxation training
  • Biofeedback
  • Acupuncture
  • Special shoes to protect your feet from injuries
  • You may also have treatment for complications of diabetic neuropathy including digestive problems, dizziness, weakness, eye problems, or urinary or sexual problems

Surgical Options​

Occasionally, conservative treatments for diabetic neuropathy are ineffective or do not provide enough relief. If this is the case you may want to consider surgery. BEST Health System takes pride in its minimally invasive procedures. Our board-certified surgeons employ a less than one-inch incision to access the target area.

BEST Health System offers patients struggling with diabetic neuropathy symptoms spinal cord stimulators. If you have any questions feel free to contact BEST Health System today to schedule an appointment.

Symptoms

Symptoms can vary between patients and is very dependent on the type of diabetes you have and your medical history. They can range from:

  • Numbness in the hands or feet, often on both sides
  • Tingling (“pins and needles”) in the feet
  • Pain in the hands, feet, or legs
  • Foot problems, such as calluses, dry skin, cracked skin, claw toes, and ankle weakness

These are considered basic diabetic neuropathy symptoms but they can also affect other parts of the body. It could do harm to your digestive tract, heart, sex organs, or eyes. Neuropathy can also cause problems with other parts of your body. Experiencing these issues can lead to more complicated symptoms such as:

  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or uncontrolled loss of poop (feces)
  • Dizziness, especially when standing up
  • Bladder infections
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Depression and sleep problems
  • Visual changes, including the inability to see or drive in the dark
  • Increased sweating

FAQs

I have lost sensation in my feet, do I have diabetic neuropathy?

Losing sensation in your feet is a common symptom caused by neuropathy but it is impossible to know for certain. If you are experiencing persistent symptoms of any kind it is imperative to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Do I need surgery for diabetic neuropathy?

Only the most severe cases of diabetic neuropathy call for surgery and is only considered as a last resort option. Normally conservative treatments provide necessary relief for diabetic neuropathy symptoms thus eliminating the need for surgery.

Will neuropathy treatment be covered by my insurance provider?

BEST Health System accepts most insurances but if you are curious if we take your specific insurance plan, feel free to contact us.