Diabetes Mellitus is a growing disease. You probably know someone who suffers from diabetes or you may suffer from diabetes yourself. According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 9.3% of the U.S. population suffers from diabetes. Diabetes causes complications to your blood vessels, nerves, skin, and major organs in your body. Neuropathy, or nerve damage is the result of damaged nerves from consistently elevated blood sugar. In fact, about half of those diagnosed with diabetes will develop neuropathy.
There are different types of neuropathy including peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, Charcot’s Joint also called neuropathic arthopathy, these types of neuropathy can be further explained here. The main types of neuropathy that affect the feet and lower extremity are peripheral neuropathy and Charcot’s joint.
Peripheral Neuropathy occurs in your feet and/or hands causing tingling, increased pain, or numbness/weakness of the affected area. Two major issues may occur with this type of neuropathy is 1.) inability to feel pain and 2.) painful burning or tingling sensations. Both options come with different frustrations. With the inability to feel pain, blisters and ulcers may form and you may not realize it. This may lead to infection and potentially amputation of the affected area. Painful burning or tingling can feel like constant pins and needles in your feet and be severe enough to awaken you from sleep. Pain or no pain, either option plays a significant role in effecting day-to-day activities.
With peripheral neuropathy, it is extremely important to foresee and prevent complications. Your podiatrist is a crucial team member in appropriately managing your diabetes and minimizing complications. Creating a healthy trusting relationship with your podiatrist is crucial to manage and prevent diabetes mellitus complications including peripheral neuropathy. Checking your feet daily is one simple and effective way to help prevent complications. To read more about how to check your feet and what to look for, read our November 2015-Diabetes Awareness Month blog. Controlling your blood sugar may also help delay the progression of neuropathy amongst other diabetes mellitus complications.
Peripheral neuropathy may seem insignificant but can have huge consequences if appropriate precautions are not taken. If you suspect peripheral neuropathy or notice any changes in your foot health please consider making an appointment with Dr. Gary N. Friedlander or Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona.