Diabetic neuropathy occurs when the body's nerves get damaged due to the constant presence of high blood sugar levels. Nerves play a critical role in maintaining health as they send messages to the brain and control the body's automatic functions, such as sweating and bladder emptying (it is why you sweat excessively when you become nervous).
The high sugar level in the bloodstream leads to damage in the small blood vessels that nourish the nerves, and essential nutrients do not reach them. As a result, the nerve fibers become damaged, frayed, or altogether disappear, affecting their ability to transmit signals to the brain.
Diabetic neuropathy can also be triggered by metabolic factors such as high levels of blood fats (triglycerides) and cholesterol or genetic traits that make an individual more vulnerable to the condition.
The condition is classified into four main types; in some patients, their symptoms can be a combination of types. Most symptoms become apparent when the nerve damage has reached an advanced stage.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: It is the most common type of neuropathy and involves nerve damage, particularly in the feet, legs, arms, and hands. It leads to numbness or loss of feeling of pain or temperature changes in these areas. Symptoms also include tingling or burning sensation, jabbing pain, oversensitivity to touch, impaired reflex response and, in severe cases, ulcers, infections, deformities, and bone and joint damage to the hands and feet.
Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy is a condition that causes damage to any of the nerves that carry information to your organs and glands to carry on with involuntary tasks such as heartbeat, digestion, bladder, and stool emptying, sweating, swallowing, body temperature regulation, blood pressure maintenance, etc. It leads to difficulty in any of these functions, and symptoms include heartburn, bloating, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, faster heart rate, bladder problems, abnormal sweating, bladder problems, or sexual dysfunction, depending on which nerves are affected.
Diabetic Proximal Neuropathy impacts the nerves that control the body's movement and affects the thighs, buttocks, or hips on mostly one side of the body, leading to weakness and wasting of the muscles in the areas controlled by the damaged nerves.
Diabetic Mononeuropathy: In this condition, a specific nerve is damaged, and it can be in any part of the body. Also called focal neuropathy, the condition leads to sudden intense pain in the affected region, and the symptoms mostly resolve on their own. For example, sudden vision changes due to damage to the optic nerve can often be caused by diabetes.
Diagnosis is based on the review of symptoms, their source of origin and assessment of medical history.
It can include the following:
Treatment includes management of diabetes through lifestyle alterations, medication, and pain management, which slows the condition's progress.
American Hospital Dubai's Neurology Department offers the most advanced diagnostic methods and treatment programs for Diabetic Neuropathy, encompassing control of blood sugar levels, lifestyle modifications involving diet, exercise and stress control, and pain management using the latest evidence-based methods.
We promote a holistic and personalized management of Diabetic Neuropathy that begins with accurately diagnosing the underlying cause, supporting the patient with lifestyle changes, and reviewing medication and side effects for successful diabetes management.
The ever-evolving domain of neurology is pushing the boundaries of diagnosis, prevention, and treatment, and American Hospital nephrologists are fully abreast of the breakthroughs in the field to deliver the most positive care outcomes.
We take a multi-disciplinary and integrative treatment approach to ensure you get the most effective and efficient treatment and care for Diabetic Neuropathy under one roof.