Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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High blood sugar (glucose) can injure nerves throughout your body. Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet affecting the way a person walks. Over time, this can cause the feet to become deformed.
Peripheral neuropathy occurs when a person’s diabetes causes damage to their nerves, particularly in the feet.
It is known to affect different types of nerves found in the body with the organs and muscles also being affected.
Nerves send messages between the brain and other body parts to help us see, hear, feel and move.
When there is nerve damage serious problems can arise affecting how one walks and stands.
According to Healthline, the three symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy in your feet include:
- Shooting pain
- Loss of balance.
“Sensory neuropathy affects the nerves that carry messages of touch, temperature, pain and other sensations from the skin, bones and muscles to the brain,” explained Diabetes UK.
The health charity continued: “It mainly affects the nerves in the feet and the legs, but people can also develop this type of neuropathy in their arms and hands.
“The main danger of sensory neuropathy for someone with diabetes is loss of feeling in the feet, especially if you don’t realise that this has happened.
“This is dangerous because you may not notice minor injuries, for example if you step on something sharp while barefoot or get a blister from badly-fitting shoes.
“If ignored, minor injuries may develop into infections or ulcers. That’s why it’s important to look after your feet when you have diabetes.”
High blood sugar and diabetic neuropathy left untreated has the potential to cause major damage to your feet.
Feet may begin to look deformed due to the result of unusual shifts in weight caused by walking abnormally and the loss of nerve function affecting the feet muscles.
Hammertoe is one such deformity and occurs when one of the three toes between the big toe and the little toe becomes misshapen at the joints.
In fact, about half of all people with diabetes have a hammer toe or claw toe deformity or a Charcot foot deformity, caused by an abnormal walk.
Unfortunately, nerve damage from high blood sugar can’t be reversed.
This is due to the body being unable to naturally repair nerve tissues which has been damaged.
However, researchers are investigating methods to treat nerve damage caused by diabetes.
While you can’t reverse the damage from neuropathy, there are ways to help manage the condition, including:
Lowering your blood sugar with a healthy diet
Treating nerve pain
Regularly checking your feet to make sure they are free of injury, wounds, or infection.
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