Friday, 13 April 2012

Diabetic Complication #4 Nerve Disorders

Diabetic Complication #4 Nerve Disorders

This is what most people think of when they think of diabetic complications.  I know it is the first thing I thought of when I learned of my diagnosis.  What I did not realise is that it can come in many forms.  I am not going to get into all the different issues with all of the nerve disorders but they are very important to know about so you can report any symptoms to your doctor.

Peripheral ( tingling, numbing, feeling hot or cold in your hands and feet).
Autonomic (this is damage to autonomic nerves that control things such as digestion, genital issues, skin problems, and a host of others.)

Again, the best way to prevent neuropathy is... you guessed it... blood sugar control.  Tests have shown that people who keep their A1C below 7 can reduce their odds of getting neuropathy by up to 60%.  Exercise is also very important to keep your blood flowing and getting to your extremities.

One important thing to know is that this is where people run into problems with their feet.  This is where the horror stories you hear about amputations come from.  It is extremely important to have your doctor/endocrinologist check your feet every time you see them.  Take your shoes off every time you get in the office.  That will make it hard for the doctor to forget to do the exam.

As a diabetic, you have to take responsibility in checking your feet as well.  Take a quick look at them every night before you go to bed.  I just look and make sure I don't see anything that looks a little strange.  If you think about it, if you have nerve damage, you will not be able to feel pain that someone without diabetes would feel.  If you don't check your feet and there is something going on down there, it could go on for months without you realising it.  By then it could be too late.

Also, please don't try to do any home bathroom surgeries on your feet.  You know what I am talking about!  Yanking out hangnails etc.  Go see a podiatrist, they can take care of these things properly.

One last thing on this topic for now...  in no way am I suggesting that if someone has needed some sort of amputation or other treatments in regards to their nerve disorders that it is their fault.  The sad thing is sometimes things happen that we can't prevent.  I am just trying to do my best at preventing complications.

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