When nerve fibers become damage, it may lead to certain Neuropathy symptoms. If the damage occurs on the motor fibers, it can cause muscle weakness, but if it affects the sensory fibers it could lead to loss of sensation in that area, and if it affects the autonomic nerve fibers it can cause functioning disorders of muscles that work unconsciously.
In other cases, symptoms are caused by damaged nerves or even actual healing. These symptoms include tingling, stinging or burning; this happens due to excessive nerve activity, as a result of damage or experiencing improvement.
Neuropathy symptoms depend on the type of nerve affected. There are many types of Neuropathies, but for example, diarrhea and constipation can be signs of damage on the small intestine nerves (autonomic neuropathy). Autonomic neuropathy can also affect the nerves that control erection, causing erectile dysfunction or impotence.
Neuropathies usually affect the lower extremities (legs and feet), so it’s very important to be careful with any problems that may arise, as approximately 85% of amputation cases could be avoided if proper care and precautions were taken.
Neuropathy can be painful and can even incapacitate the affected, but fortunately the most severe forms of neuropathy are rare, and the preventions, early diagnose and treatments that exist today allow people with Diabetes to counteract the effects of Neuropathies.
Symptoms of nerve damage based on the kind on Diabetic Neuropathy
Motor Diabetic Neuropathy or damage to the motor nerves: Difficulty moving, weakness and loss of muscle tone in the legs and feet, pain in joints and bones, difficulty grasping or lifting, bone degeneration, changes in the foot shape (Charcot foot), lack of coordination, paralysis and loss of balance.
Sensory Diabetic Neuropathy or damage to the sensory nerves: Loss of tactile (touch), algesic (pain) and thermal (temperature) sensitivity in the arms and legs, itching, loss of reflexes, numbness, burning or shocks, infections, ulcers, infected wounds, numbness, extreme sensitivity to touch, stinging, stabbing or sharp pains, tingling and burning sensations, weakness or pain in the hands or feet, pain in joints and bones and others.
Autonomic Diabetic Neuropathy or damage to the autonomic nerves: nausea, eye pain, paralysis on one side of the face (Bell’s palsy), heartburn, constipation, excessive sweating and dry feet, incontinence, inability to empty the bladder, small urine leaks without feeling them, loss of bowel control, diarrhea, trouble swallowing, dizziness or fainting, low blood pressure (especially after meals), feeling full sooner than normal, unexplained sweating even when the temperature is cool and at unusual moments, vomiting, reflux, bloating, constant need to urinate at night, double vision and also problems with sexual health in men such as erectile dysfunction and “dry” or decreased ejaculation and in women, lack of vaginal lubrication and less ability to have orgasms, among others.
People with diabetes need to maintain optimal control of their blood glucose and Hemoglobin A1c levels at all times, so they can prevent the chronic complications associated with poorly controlled diabetes. The DCCT (Diabetes Control and Complications Trial) proved that good blood glucose level control can prevent or delay the onset and progression of diabetic Neuropathies.
It is important for every person with Diabetes to know the signs and symptoms of nerves damage of the peripheral and autonomic nervous systems, so they can treat them as soon as possible to prevent them from progressing to more severe stages and so they won’t affect their quality of life.
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