Diabetic Neuropathy and Diabetes Leg Pain
Diabetic neuropathy and diabetes leg pain? How are these two related? This is how. You see, nerve damage caused by diabetes in hands and feet and other parts of the body is part of this condition. Sometimes it flares up suddenly, making people who suffer from it lose weight and become weak.
So what causes diabetic neuropathy? Authorities do not know for sure but they have isolated factors that contribute to it. The high blood glucose is one. It results in chemical changes in the nerves. These changes make the nerves unable to send out signs to the different parts of the body.
How does this happen? The blood glucose damages the blood vessels that are supposed to carry nutrients and oxygen to the nerves. This is what clogs up the blood vessels. Another cause could be inherited factors that make some people more vulnerable to this condition, one of which is diabetes leg pain unlike this person who is relaxing her feet in this photo taken by jlburgess.
How common is diabetic neuropathy? Diabetics can suffer from this anytime. It can appear within ten years after the diagnosis. The risk to develop this condition increases the longer one has diabetes. It is more common among smokers, those who are over 40 years old and have problems with their blood glucose levels.
The most common type of this condition is peripheral type which damages the nerves of the limbs particularly the feet. The nerves at both sides of the body are also affected. Sometimes PAD could be so severe that the diabetes leg pain could feel like a burning ache. One can even feel this aching pain while resting. And of course, those sores in the foot and leg do not heal.
How is this condition diagnosed? The diagnosis is based on the symptoms. The doctor of course does a physical examination during which he checks the reflexes, the strength of the muscle and the sensitivity to changes in temperature and touch. Here are the ways they diagnose this:
- The screening test will be what the doctor will do to check the sensation in the feet which he usually does in his office. How is this test done? The test employs a nylon filament mounted on a small rod. The filament is made to send a force of 10-gram on various areas of the foot. The diabetics who have lost the sensation will not be able to sense this pressure. They are therefore deemed at risk for ulcers in the foot and diabetes leg pain.
- Electromyography or EMG for short will test how well the muscles react to electrical impulses sent by the nerves. A screen displays the electrical activity of the muscle. A reaction that is slow will suggest the damage in the nerve. This test is done with the next method of diagnosis which is the nerve condition studies.
- The nerve condition studies will check the flow of electric current through a nerve. Just like the EMG, the result will be shown on the screen and the doctor will be able to observe and evaluate the nerve conditions in the extremities.
- The nerve biopsy involves removing a small sample of the tissue to examine.
- Ultrasound makes use of sound waves that produce an image that shows how well the parts are functioning.
What is the treatment for diabetic neuropathy? The goal is to relieve the pain, discomfort and further damage. To ease the pain, tingling, burning and numbness, the doctor may recommend analgesics like aspirin and other drugs that are anti-inflammatory that contain ibuprofen.
Sometimes, codeine is prescribed to ease the severe pain but only for a short while. A topical cream like capsaicin is also available to relieve the pain. Antidepressant medications like amitriptyline or nerve medications like phenytoin sodium may help. Talk to the doctor as to which is the best fit for you. among the treatment options of diabetic neuropathy .
Diabetic Neuropathy, Can This Be Avoided?
Diabetic neuropathy is a serious and most common diabetes complication but often times, it can be prevented or slowed down its advancement. How? A tight blood glucose control is one. And a healthy lifestyle is another. There are different types, four in fact and you may just have one or signs of more types. The trouble is that the development is so slow you may not notice it until the damage has been done.
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