The Diabetic Companion on Neuropathy - A Primer: Part 3 - Neuropathy Symptoms
Neuropathy symptoms are good to know for that will alert one on what steps to take to make the situation better. When these symptoms appear, one will be like a detective searching for clues to find, especially if there is a loss of sensation in the lower extremities.
The symptoms will depend on the form of neuropathy and the affected nerves. Some with nerve damage do not feel any symptoms at all and this is the scary part. Why? Because if there is no feeling of pain, one will think everything is fine and will not be able to plan on any steps to counteract the nerve damage.
Others will feel the first symptoms as tingling or pain in the feet or numbness. Often the symptoms are fine in the beginning and since the damage to the nerve happens over several years, the problem may not be noticed for awhile. So if you are wondering if the funny tingling in your feet is related to diabetes, don’t, because the answer is a resounding yes.
The nervous system comes into two categories: the nervous system with the brain and spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system including motor nerves that control the movement of the muscles, the sensory nerves that feel the pain touch or heat and the autonomic nerves that control the heart, blood pressure, bladder and digestive functions. The neuropathy symptoms are:
Gradual start of numbness or insensitivity to temperature and pain, pins and needles sensation, tingling or pain in the feet or hands which may extend upwards into the arms and legs and can range from mild to painful and disabling.
- Diarrhea or constipation and problems with urination if autonomic nerves are affected
- Burning especially in the evening, jabbing, stabbing, sharp or throbbing pains or cramps or lightning bolt electricity pain, or prickling sensation that are often worse at night
- Severe sensitivity to the lightest touch
- Weakness in the muscles in hands or feet, dizziness, difficulty walking and loss of coordination and balance or paralysis if motor nerves are affected
- Vaginal dryness and erectile dysfunction
- Nausea or vomiting, indigestion
The motor, sensory and autonomic or involuntary nervous systems can be affected. For some, but mostly those with focal neuropathy, the pain may be acute and just suddenly appears. Focal neuropathy affects specific nerves mostly in the head, torso and leg. Focal neuropathy, besides failure to focus the eye, may cause one to have:
- Pain behind one eye and double vision
- Paralysis on one side of face
- Pain in the front of a thigh, in the chest, side, stomach, outside of the shin or inside of the foot
- Abdominal or chest pain sometimes erroneously thought of as heart attack, heart disease or appendicitis
- Severe pain in the lower back or pelvis
Proximal neuropathy starts with pain in the hips, thighs, buttocks, hips or legs often on one side of the body and more common among those with type 2 diabetes and older diabetics. The legs go weak and the patient is unable to stand up from a sitting position unless helped.
Autonomic neuropathy has an effect on the nerves that regulate the blood pressure, control the heart and the blood sugar levels that could lead to the loss of warning symptoms of hypoglycemia. It also affects the internal organs leading to problems with vision, sex, digestion, urination and respiratory function.
There you have the signs of neuropathy. We will deal with the treatment when we come to the part on treatment in The Diabetic Companion on Neuropathy - A Primer. Next time will be Part 4 which will be on the risks. This time hopefully has cleared up all the questions on neuropathy symptoms.
Rebuilder 300 - Neuropathy Treatment
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The Diabetic Companion on Neuropathy - A Primer: Part 4 - Neuropathy Risk Factors
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The Diabetic Companion on Neuropathy - A Primer: Part 2 - Neuropathy Causes
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