The Down Low on Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic Neuropathy is a very serious condition that can affect people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It is a type of nerve damage that typically develops very slowly, and while this may make it seem tame, it's consequences can be severe.
How To Spot It
Because it develops so slowly, it often gets missed or left untreated, which can lead to some very severe consequences which we will discuss later.
The most important thing is to catch it early so you can get treatment or make lifestyle changes that can slow the progression.
So what should you look for?
Tingling or numbness in any of the extremities such as the hands or feet are a very common signs that neuropathy may be developing. If you notice any of these symptoms you should see your doctor right away to discuss possible treatment options.
What Happens If Left Untreated
If left untreated neuropathy can lead to a whole host of health issues.
One commonly known consequence is amputation of extremities. This often occurs due to lack of feeling in the hands or feet, which allows an ulcer to form that ultimately leads to the amputation.
Some other complications are:
Weakness in the muscles affected, extreme sensitivity, lack of sensitivity, sharp pains, loss of coordination, poor digestion, erectile dysfunction, lightheadedness, profuse sweating, nausea, achy eyes, inability to focus, and many more.
Clearly this is not a disease that anyone is interested in getting, so what can be done about it?
While there is no "cure" for diabetic neuropathy, it is possible to slow down its progression or greatly reduce the odds of getting it in the first place.
The simplest way to do this is to make sure that your blood sugar remains at a healthy level.
It is thought that high blood sugar, over a sustained period of time, is what eventually leads to neuropathy, so if you can control your blood sugar, you can go a long way to controlling the complications associated with diabetic neuropathy.
In some cases lower blood sugar levels can even relieve some of the symptoms of neuropathy once they have already started.
Preventing neuropathy from occurring in the first place is certainly ideal. As we've seen the best way to do this is to keep blood sugar levels under control. This can be done with diet, exercise, medications, or some combination of those three.
At type2diet we are big proponents of managing diabetes and blood sugar naturally. If you are concerned that you may have high blood sugar, talk with your doctor about ways in which you could change your lifestyle to help bring those numbers down. Usually some combination of exercise plus a reduced carb diet can make a huge impact on blood sugar levels.