How Do I Know if I Have Diabetic Nerve Damage?
The most common type of diabetic neuropathy is called peripheral neuropathy or distal symmetric peripheral neuropathy. Typically, your feet and legs will be affected first, followed by the hands and arms. Symptoms of diabetic nerve damage can develop gradually. Unfortunately, you may not notice anything is wrong until considerable nerve damage has occurred.
However, with careful, ongoing examination of your extremities, you may be able to catch nerve damage before it progresses too far. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends screening for diabetic neuropathy immediately after a type 2 diabetes diagnosis or five years after diagnosis with type 1 diabetes. After that, screening is recommended at least once a year.
The first signs of peripheral neuropathy may include:
- Tingling or burning feeling
- Reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes
Once the nerve damage has progressed, you may experience:
- Sharp pains or cramps
- Muscle weakness
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Serious foot problems, such as ulcers, infections, and bone and joint damage
How do I prevent diabetic neuropathy?
You should also:
- Keep your blood pressure within normal ranges
- Lose weight if you’re overweight
- Limit or avoid alcohol
- Stop smoking or don’t start smoking
How can I treat diabetic neuropathy?
OTC Pain Relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Long-term use of these drugs can affect your liver or kidneys, so talk to your doctor about the best options for you.
Anesthetic creams with lidocaine or capsaicin can numb skin and temporarily reduce pain. Utilizing hand or foot braces can help with muscle weakness or relieve nerve compression. Orthopedic shoes may prevent walking issues, which can prevent further foot injuries.
Prescription Medication may be required for chronic pain relief. Antidepressants, antiseizure drugs, and opioid medication have all been shown to help relieve pain in many patients. However, they all have their own complications that you should discuss with your doctor.
A pain management physician can also offer minimally invasive treatments for chronic nerve pain.
- Localized injections of lidocaine
- Nerve ablation
- Spinal cord stimulation
If you are struggling with chronic nerve pain as a result of diabetes, The PainSmith may be able to help. We have several different options to help manage your chronic pain. You can request a consultation or give us a call and we’ll discuss your options.