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Understanding Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy refers to damage to the nerves caused by diabetes. It is estimated that nearly half of all people with diabetes experience some kind of nerve damage. This could be in the legs, feet or eyes or in nerves controlling vital functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, and digestion.

Diabetic Neuropathy Conditions

There are various kinds of diabetic neuropathy conditions

  • Peripheral, autonomic and femoral

Peripheral neuropathy is basically a condition affecting the peripheral nerves, usually of the legs and feet causing tingling, and loss of sensation or pain in the lower legs and feet

Autonomic neuropathy is caused by damage to the nerves controlling digestion, bowel emptying, bladder emptying, sweating, blood pressure and heart rate causing nausea, diarrhea, fainting, dizziness, low blood pressure, and difficulty in swallowing

Femoral neuropathy causes dysfunction of the femoral nerve resulting in loss of control while walking, tingling or numbness in the knee, calf and foot, and pain in the hip or groin.

  • Lumbar radiculopathy and neurogenic arthropathy

Thoracic or lumbar radiculopathy refers to irritation or compression of the nerves exiting the spine. It is also caused by an infection or tumor. Localized back and neck pain are the common symptoms. Charcot’s joint or neurogenic arthropathy refers to a diabetic induced condition that affects joints by causing swelling, instability, hemorrhage, heat, and hypertrophic and atrophic bone changes.

  • Drop foot

A diabetic condition called drop foot refers to the inability to lift the toe section and front part of the foot. The result is that the affected foot is dragged while walking.

Diabetic neuropathy could make life very difficult for people. Leading healthcare centers provide comprehensive treatment and care for the condition. Evaluation of the patient’s symptoms and overall health status is the first step. Electromyography (EMG) and neurological tests are conducted for measuring the extent of sensation lost. After diagnosis, the patient is provided with a customized treatment plan which may involve chiropractic care and pain management. Physical therapy can also strengthen the leg and foot muscles and restore balance and sensation.

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