Warning Signs of Diabetes Caused by Damage to the Nervous System

Warning signs of diabetes? You will know in less than five minutes but first let's recap what we've covered regarding damage to the nervous system. We've described the complications to the heart, kidneys and the extremities like the arms, legs and feet.

We know that the warning signs of diabetes can occur when the disease has damaged the nervous system. For better understanding of how diabetes can damage the nervous system, it is good idea to know what it is all about. The nervous system has four parts:

  • Cranial nerves go from the brain to the eyes, mouth, ears and other parts of the head.
  • Central nerves are in the brain and spinal cord.
  • Peripheral nerves go from spinal cord to arms, hands, legs, and feet.
  • Autonomic nerves go from the spinal cord to lungs, stomach, heart, intestines, bladder and sex organs.

Among all the above, diabetes can damage the cranial, autonomic and peripheral nerves. One of the warning signs of diabetes when the peripheral nerves are damaged is that the hands, arms and legs lose the sensation to the point one will not be able to feel pain, heat or cold.

These warning signs of diabetes could feel like shooting and burning pains. They could be stinging pains like pins and needles and frequently worse at night, making one have a hard time sleeping. Pains could be on both sides like both feet but sometimes only on one side.

The damage to the peripheral nerves can change the shape of your feet. The muscles here become fragile and the tendons shorter. Special shoes are available to help protect the deformed feet. I don't know yet where to get the best deal but when I do, you will be the first to know. Health insurance and/or Medicare may cover the cost of these special shoes.

People who take diabetes medication may find their blood sugar level too low which is also called hypoglycemia. The trouble is that when the autonomic nerves are damaged, it is difficult to feel the warning signs of diabetes. This is more expected to happen when the diabetes has been long term and the low sugar level has been going on for sometime. Testing the blood sugar will help.

Since the autonomic nerves go to the stomach and other sections of the digestive system, the damage here can make the digestion too fast or too slow. The warning signs of diabetes in this case are feeling sick to the stomach or nausea, diarrhea, constipation and vomiting.

Since the autonomic nerves go to the sex organs, a man might suffer from impotence or erectile dysfunction because one of the warning signs of diabetes in this case is that his penis won't get firm. Similarly, the woman will be affected because she may have less feeling in the vagina.

Autonomic nerves go to the heart as well so when the damage is done, the warning signs of diabetes in this case is that the heart can beat faster. Or irregular heart beats can occur.

How about the damage to the autonomic nerves that also go to the bladder? Well, the warning signs of diabetes in this case is that it will be hard to know when to go to the bathroom because it's difficult to feel if the bladder is empty. The result is that one could hold urinating too long which can lead to bladder infections or one can accidentally leak urine.

Since the autonomic nerves go to the blood vessels that keep the blood pressure stable, damage to this may lead to the blood to move slowly. When this happens one of the warning signs of diabetes is to feel faint when changing position from lying down to sitting or standing.

How about the damage to the cranial nerves? What will be the warning signs of diabetes? Because the cranial nerves go to the eyes, one may suddenly have double vision lasting a short duration. And for the sides of the face where the cranial nerves go? This can cause one side of the face to suddenly sag with the lower eyelid and lip also hanging low called Bell's palsy. This has the tendency to correct itself.

What should you do when you feel the aforementioned warning signs of diabetes? You will know you have nerve damage. Consult with your doctor and ask him how to solve this problem or prevent it from getting worse.

If you want more information about diabetes, please visit: Blogging for Diabetes and You

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