Can Diabetic Neuropathy Be Reversed?
Diabetic neuropathy refers to nerve damage caused by diabetes. Neuropathy is a common condition impacting 60 to 70 percent of adults with diabetes. However, it mainly concerns those with uncontrolled blood sugar levels or those who have had diabetes for more than 25 years. The nerve damage caused by diabetic neuropathy is irreversible but there are ways to lessen symptoms and prevent further harm. Contents of this article: What is diabetic neuropathy? Diabetic neuropathy is a family of progressive nerve disorders related to type 1 and 2 diabetes. Although research is still taking place on this type of nerve damage, doctors think that blood sugars may damage nerve cells by impairing nerve fibers and reducing or confusing signaling. However, nerve damage is likely to be caused by a combination of factors, such as how the immune system functions, genetics, smoking, or alcohol use. Neuropathy can cause a range of symptoms, including pain, loss of sensation, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. Although neuropathy can occur wherever there are nerves, it tends to affect the legs and feet. Those with diabetic neuropathy tend to: have poor blood sugar control be over the age of 40 be overweight or obese have had diabetes for at least 10 to 25 years, depending on the severity Types Diabetic neuropathy is typically divided into four categories depending on which nerves are affected. Peripheral neuropathy Nerve damage that impacts the ability of the peripheral nerves to sense things, such as temperature and touch. Peripheral neuropathy most commonly affects the arms, hands, legs, feet, and toes, often causing pain or loss of feeling. It is the most common form of diabetic neuropathy. Proximal neuropathy Nerve damage resulting in pain in the hips, thighs, pelvis, and buttocks. Continue reading >>
Numbness Toes: Symptoms & Signs
Numbness of the toes generally is a result of conditions that affect the nerves and/or blood vessels that supply the foot. Numbness of the toes is often associated with tingling. Numbness and tingling sensations in the toes is referred to as paresthesia of the toes. The most common cause of toe numbness is direct compression of the nerves of the foot from footwear from shoes. Numbness of the toe can occur because of injury to the foot, nerve damage (neuropathy), and poor circulation to the foot (such as with diabetes and peripheral vascular disease). Numbness to the foot can also be caused by irritation of nerves in the low back with radiculopathy and herniated disc, Guillain-Barré syndrome, frostbite, stroke, diabetic neuropathy, beriberi, multiple sclerosis (MS), Raynaud's phenomenon, and vasculitis. There is increased potential for irritation of nerves in the foot when skeletal deformity occurs, such as from bunions. REFERENCE: Firestein, Gary S., et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology, Ninth Ed. China: Elsevier Saunders, 2012. Continue reading >>
Why Does Type 2 Diabetes Cause Your Feet To Go Numb?
Numbness in the feet is a symptom of neuropathy or nerve damage, one of the most common long-term complications of type 2 diabetes. Neuropathy is caused by poor blood sugar control that persists over a long period of time. “The higher the blood sugars and the longer they stay high, the greater the chance of the person developing neuropathy,” says Joel Zonszein, MD, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at the University Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Health System in the Bronx, New York. “The nerves that get affected by high sugars tend to be the longest nerves in the body,” explains Dr. Zonszein. These nerves go from the spine to the toes, which is why the feet get affected before the arms or hands. Diabetic neuropathy also tends to be bilateral. “Both feet will be affected equally,” he says. If blood sugar remains poorly controlled, it can lead to serious complications. In the feet, diabetic neuropathy can not only cause numbness but pain and injuries. It can change the shape of your feet, deforming them so they no longer fit into regular shoes. It can also dry out and damage your skin, cause calluses and ulcers on your feet, and interfere with circulation. The numbness also makes it hard to tell if there is a cut or injury which can increase your risk of infections and amputation. People with diabetes are also at an increased risk for amputation. In 2010, approximately 73,000 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations were performed on adults (20 years or older) diagnosed with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. The good news is that most amputations are preventable when you manage your diabetes well, take good care of your feet, and wear proper footwear. If you have circulatory problems or you’ve alre Continue reading >>
What Can I Do For Numb, Painful Feet And Legs?
My husband was diagnosed with diabetes almost a year ago. At first he was experiencing numbness in his feet. Over the past few months, he began having pain as well, sometimes as far up his leg as his calf. What can we do to help these symptoms? I have read that vitamin E and even flaxseed oil are good for the circulation. Would those be helpful? Continue reading >>
Diabetic Neuropathy Symptoms
The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy depend on what type of neuropathy you have. Symptoms are dependent on which nerves have been damaged. In general, diabetic neuropathy symptoms develop gradually; they may seem like minor and infrequent pains or problems at first, but as the nerves become more damaged, symptoms may grow. Don’t overlook mild symptoms. They can indicate the beginning of neuropathy. Talk to your doctor about anything you notice—such as any pain, numbness, weakness, or tingling—even if it seems insignificant. Your pain may mean the control of your diabetes could be improved, which will can help slow down the progression of your neuropathy. Pain and numbness are also important warning signs to take very good care of your feet, so you can avoid wounds and infections that can be difficult to heal and even raise risk for amputation. 1 Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms Peripheral neuropathy affects nerves leading to your extremities—the feet, legs, hands, and arms. The nerves leading to your feet are the longest in your body, so they are the most often affected nerves (simply because there’s more of them to be damaged). Peripheral neuropathy is the most common form of diabetic neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy symptoms include: Pain Burning, stabbing or electric-shock sensations Numbness (loss of feeling) Tingling Muscle weakness Poor coordination Muscle cramping and/or twitching Insensitivity to pain and/or temperature Extreme sensitivity to even the lightest touch Symptoms get worse at night. 2, 3 Autonomic Neuropathy Symptoms The autonomic nervous system is in charge of the "involuntary" functions of your body. It keeps your heart pumping and makes sure you digest your food right—without you needing to think about it. Autonomic neuropathy symptoms i Continue reading >>
Healing Numb Feet
Overview of treatment approaches: • Nondrug therapies • Relaxation and biofeedback • Anodyne therapy • Exercise • Massage • Daily foot care Diabetes is hard on feet. Because the feet are farthest from the heart, any problems with blood flow can leave feet without enough circulation. Results can include numbness, loss of foot strength, and worse. Fortunately, there are some good ways to heal and protect your feet. As Birgitta I. Rice, MS, RPh, CHES, wrote here, much of the pain and numbness people with diabetes experience comes from nerve damage. The nerves are injured both by poor circulation and by high glucose levels. We really need healthy nerves. (As a person with a nerve disease, I know about this.) According to Rice, “Loss of nerve fibers can result in muscle weakness, numbness, loss of reflexes, foot deformities, change in gait, and impaired balance and coordination. Loss of sensitivity to pain or temperature can also occur, leading in turn to blisters and sores from foot injuries that go unfelt.” Numbness is dangerous. Sometimes, people can have a pebble in their shoe and not notice it. Others may get in a hot bath and not realize their feet are being scalded. These kinds of seemingly minor things can lead to infections, which don’t heal because of having poor circulation. This is the major pathway to losing a leg to amputation. People with diabetes are eight times more likely than other people to have a lower leg amputated. If you just woke up one day with numb feet, you would notice a big difference and ask about ways to treat it. It doesn’t work that way, though. Numbness comes on slowly over years, so you don’t notice day-to-day changes. Also, severe pain often comes before numbness, so that the numbness is perceived as a relief rather Continue reading >>
Tips For Treating Diabetic Nerve Pain
Diabetes can cause long-term problems throughout your body, especially if you don’t control your blood sugar effectively, and sugar levels remain high for many years. High blood sugar can cause diabetic neuropathy, which damages the nerves that send signals from your hands and feet. Diabetic neuropathy can cause numbness or tingling in your fingers, toes, hands, and feet. Another symptom is a burning, sharp, or aching pain (diabetic nerve pain). The pain may be mild at first, but it can get worse over time and spread up your legs or arms. Walking can be painful, and even the softest touch can feel unbearable. Up to 50 percent of people with diabetes may experience nerve pain. Nerve damage can affect your ability to sleep, decrease your quality of life, and can also cause depression. Damaged nerves can’t be replaced. However, there are ways that you can prevent further damage and relieve your pain. First, control your blood sugar so the damage doesn’t progress. Talk to your doctor about setting your blood sugar goal, and learn to monitor it. You may be asked to lower your blood sugar before meals to 70 to 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and your blood sugar after meals to less than 180 mg/dL. Use diets, exercise, and medications to decrease your blood sugar to a healthier range. Monitor other health risks that can worsen your diabetes, such as your weight and smoking. Ask your doctor about effective ways to lose weight or quit smoking, if necessary. Your doctor might suggest trying an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin (Bufferin), or ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil), which are available without a prescription but can cause side effects. Use a low dose for a short time to control your symptoms. Other options exist for stronger Continue reading >>
What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetes can harm your nerves. That damage, called neuropathy, may be painful. It can happen in several ways, and they all seem to be related to blood sugar levels being too high for too long. To prevent it, work with your doctor to manage your blood sugar. You may hear your doctor mention the four types of diabetes-related neuropathy: peripheral, autonomic, proximal, and focal. Peripheral Neuropathy This type usually affects the feet and legs. Rare cases affect the arms, abdomen, and back. Symptoms include: Tingling Numbness (which may become permanent) Burning (especially in the evening) Pain Early symptoms usually get better when your blood sugar is under control. There are medications to help manage the discomfort. What you should do: Check your feet and legs daily. Use lotion on your feet if they're dry. Take care of your toenails. Ask your doctor if you should go to a podiatrist. Wear shoes that fit well. Wear them all the time, so your feet don't get injured. Autonomic Neuropathy This type usually affects the digestive system, especially the stomach. It can also affect the blood vessels, urinary system, and sex organs. In your digestive system: Symptoms include: Bloating Diarrhea Constipation Heartburn Nausea Vomiting Feeling full after small meals What you should do: You may need to eat smaller meals and take medication to treat it. In blood vessels: Symptoms include: Blacking out when you stand up quickly Faster heartbeat Dizziness Low blood pressure Nausea Vomiting Feeling full sooner than normal If you have it: Avoid standing up too quickly. You may also need to wear special stockings (ask your doctor about them) and take medicine. In Men: Symptoms include: He may not be able to have or keep an erection, or he may have “dry” or reduced ejaculations. What Continue reading >>
Numbness In Feet, But No Diabetes? Heres What Else It Could Be
Numbness in the feet is one of the most common complications of diabetes but there are many other reasons why your feet may feel numb. Even if youre not diabetic, you can still suffer from this problem. Here are some of the possible causes. Several conditions can cause foot numbness when not enough blood is getting through to your feet. This is likely to be especially noticeable at the tips of your toes, and sometimes also at the backs of your heels. A podiatrist will be able to give you further information. If your arteries or veins have become narrowed, blocked, or tangled, you may lose some feeling in your feet. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can be caused by sitting in a cramped space , such as an airline seat, for long periods. If your feet get extremely cold, especially for long periods of time, this can give you frostbite and make you lose feeling. Your feet may go numb if you have suffered certain types of injury or disease. Because of the way your bodys nerves work, some conditions that affect other areas of your body can also cause numbness, so it may not be a foot injury that is the root cause. Many back injuries, such as slipped disks or brittle bone disease, can cause your feet to become numb. You can also get foot numbness if you have a trapped nerve, for example from sitting awkwardly for too long. If you have a broken bone that is supported by a cast, making the cast too tight can cause numbness. You can experience numbness if the nerves inside your feet stop working properly. There are many possible causes of this type of damage, so its important that you get advice from a podiatrist to make sure that you receive the correct treatment. If you dont get enough Vitamin B12, your feet can go numb. People on vegan diets are most at risk for this problem. Some b Continue reading >>
Nerve Damage (diabetic Neuropathies)
What are diabetic neuropathies? Diabetic neuropathies are a family of nerve disorders caused by diabetes. People with diabetes can, over time, develop nerve damage throughout the body. Some people with nerve damage have no symptoms. Others may have symptoms such as pain, tingling, or numbness—loss of feeling—in the hands, arms, feet, and legs. Nerve problems can occur in every organ system, including the digestive tract, heart, and sex organs. About 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. People with diabetes can develop nerve problems at any time, but risk rises with age and longer duration of diabetes. The highest rates of neuropathy are among people who have had diabetes for at least 25 years. Diabetic neuropathies also appear to be more common in people who have problems controlling their blood glucose, also called blood sugar, as well as those with high levels of blood fat and blood pressure and those who are overweight. What causes diabetic neuropathies? The causes are probably different for different types of diabetic neuropathy. Researchers are studying how prolonged exposure to high blood glucose causes nerve damage. Nerve damage is likely due to a combination of factors: metabolic factors, such as high blood glucose, long duration of diabetes, abnormal blood fat levels, and possibly low levels of insulin neurovascular factors, leading to damage to the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to nerves autoimmune factors that cause inflammation in nerves mechanical injury to nerves, such as carpal tunnel syndrome inherited traits that increase susceptibility to nerve disease lifestyle factors, such as smoking or alcohol use What are the symptoms of diabetic neuropathies? Symptoms depend on the type of neuropathy and which Continue reading >>
Print Overview Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. High blood sugar (glucose) can injure nerve fibers throughout your body, but diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet. Depending on the affected nerves, symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can range from pain and numbness in your extremities to problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart. For some people, these symptoms are mild; for others, diabetic neuropathy can be painful, disabling and even fatal. Diabetic neuropathy is a common serious complication of diabetes. Yet you can often prevent diabetic neuropathy or slow its progress with tight blood sugar control and a healthy lifestyle. Symptoms There are four main types of diabetic neuropathy. You may have just one type or symptoms of several types. Most develop gradually, and you may not notice problems until considerable damage has occurred. The signs and symptoms of diabetic neuropathy vary, depending on the type of neuropathy and which nerves are affected. Peripheral neuropathy Peripheral neuropathy is the most common form of diabetic neuropathy. Your feet and legs are often affected first, followed by your hands and arms. Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are often worse at night, and may include: Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes A tingling or burning sensation Sharp pains or cramps Increased sensitivity to touch — for some people, even the weight of a bed sheet can be agonizing Muscle weakness Loss of reflexes, especially in the ankle Loss of balance and coordination Serious foot problems, such as ulcers, infections, deformities, and bone and joint pain Autonomic neuropathy The autonomic nervous system controls your hea Continue reading >>
What Are The Treatments For Numb Feet In Diabetes?
Numbness of the feet may be a symptom of diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage. Diabetes damages the nerve endings, which leads to neuropathy. One type of diabetic neuropathy is peripheral neuropathy, which affects such body parts as the feet, legs and hands. Neuropathy is not curable, but proper treatment can help prevent the condition from becoming worse, according to a statement paper by the American Diabetic Association in the April 2005 issue of “Diabetes Care." Video of the Day Feet require special care among individuals with diabetes. Not only does diabetes damage nerve endings, the condition hinders the body’s ability to fight infections. Having numbness or reduced sensation in the feet may inhibit one’s awareness of feeling blisters or sores on the feet, which may easily lead to medical complications, such as foot ulcers, serious infections or amputations, according to a 2003 issue of “Lancet." To help prevent medical complications among individuals with numb feet, the American Diabetic Association advises checking feet daily for sores, blisters and cuts. Primary care providers and podiatrists can also check the feet during examinations. Also recommended is checking shoes for rough edges and small objects before putting them on. If foot sores are found, the American Diabetic Association advises seeking medical attention from a podiatrist or primary care provider. Diabetic neuropathy may get better with improved management of blood glucose levels, or blood sugar levels, according to the “Diabetes Care” article. Taking insulin or diabetes medication can help keep blood glucose levels within target range as established by a health care provider. Types of insulin include regular insulin, long-acting insulin and rapid-acting insulin. A health care provide Continue reading >>
Why You Should Be Concerned With Pain And Numbness When You Have Diabetes
Pain and numbness or tingling in your legs and feet should be not be taken lightly as this can be one of the first signs or symptoms that someone with diabetes may experience. Medically referred to as Diabetic Neuropathy, pain and numbness can be a sign of nerve damage that can occur as a complication of both uncontrolled type 1 and type 2 diabetes. While nerve fibers anywhere in the body can be damaged by uncontrolled blood glucose control, diabetic neuropathy most often affects the nerves in both your feet and legs. Read onhow diabetic neuropathy (pain and numbness) can be an alarming sign of undiagnosed diabetes. What Causes Pain and Numbness to Occur Due to Diabetes? Depending on the location of the nerves affected by diabetic neuropathy, the symptoms of it can range from pain and numbness, most often in lower extremities to issues with your heart, digestive system, blood vessels and urinary tract. Diabetic Neuropathy is the most common complication that can arise from uncontrolled and undiagnosed diabetes. However, the progression of this complication can be slowed by tightening blood glucose control. Understanding How Pain and Numbness Can Be a Symptom of Diabetes Uncontrolled diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, can lead to the progression of diabetic neuropathy. Those who develop symptoms of pain and numbness typically have a difficult time controlling their blood glucose levels, such as those who may not have yet realized they have diabetes (undiagnosed). This can also be caused from improper control of blood pressure levels, body weight and cholesterol levels as well in collaboration with higher blood glucose levels. There are a few different types of diabetic neuropathy that can occur in those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This is where recognizing the Continue reading >>
Peripheral Neuropathy And Diabetes
Pain. Tingling. Numbness. If you have a type of nerve damage from diabetes called diabetic peripheral neuropathy, chances are you've experienced these symptoms, especially in your hands and feet. The discomfort can affect your mood, sleep, and overall quality of life. Prescription medications can help. But research shows that they only ease the pain by about 30% to 50%. How can you bridge the gap? Learn how you can get relief now -- and prevent the condition from getting worse down the road. If don't manage your diabetes, your blood glucose levels get too high. Over time, excess blood sugar can damage your peripheral nerves. These connect your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body. That could set the stage for diabetic neuropathy. If you bring your blood sugar into the healthy range (a hemoglobin A1C reading of 7% or lower), you'll reduce your risk of nerve damage by 60%, according to research from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. "Healthy blood sugar levels can slow the process and ease the pain of diabetic neuropathy," says Aaron I. Vinik, MD, PhD, the director of the research and neuroendocrine unit at Eastern Virginia Medical School. How can you keep your blood sugar in check? First, talk to your doctor. "A rapid drop can actually make the pain worse," Vinik says. Your doctor can suggest changes to gently bring your levels down into the healthy zone, like: Eat a diet high that's in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains; contains a moderate amount of fish, poultry, nuts, and beans; and has a very low amount of red meat. Manage your stress levels. Exercise for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week. If your doctor prescribes medication for your blood sugar, take it as recommended. Acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofe Continue reading >>
How To Avoid Amputations If You Have Diabetes
In people with diabetes, a trifecta of trouble can set the stage for amputations: Numbness in the feet due to diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) can make people less aware of injuries and foot ulcers. These ulcers may fail to heal, which can in turn lead to serious infections. "Normally a person with an injury on the bottom of their foot, such as a blister, will change the way they walk. Your gait will alter because you are going to protect that blistered spot until it heals up," says Joseph LeMaster, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Medicine. "People with a loss of sensation don't do that. They will just walk right on top of that blister as though it wasn't there. It can burst, become infected, and turn into what we call a foot ulcer," he says. "That ulceration can go right down to the bone and become an avenue for infection into the whole foot. That's what leads to amputations." Foot injuries are the most common cause of hospitalizations About 15% of all diabetics will develop a foot ulcer at some point and up to 24% of people with a foot ulcer need an amputation. You're at extra-high risk if you're black, Hispanic, or Native American. These minority populations are two to three times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites, and their rates of amputations are higher. "It's the most common reason that someone's going to be hospitalized with diabetesnot for high blood sugar or a heart attack or a stroke," says David G. Armstrong, DPM, a specialist in diabetic foot disease at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago. "It's for a hole in the foot, a wound." About a year ago, Dr. Armstrong treated a 59-year-old man with type 2 diabetes who had been working out at a local health club; 12 Continue reading >>