Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Living With Type 1 Diabetes: Complications to Nerves
As stated in the last blog about type 1 diabetes and complication to the heart, type 1 diabetes affects numerous organs in the body. This week we are going to talk about type 1 diabetes and how it affects the body’s nerves.
Nerves: Type 1 diabetes can cause nerve damage which is also known as neuropathy. When the body has excess sugar in the system, it injures the walls of the capillaries that nourish the nerves. This results in numbness, tingling, burning or pain. These usually begin at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. If diabetes is uncontrolled, it could eventually lead to complete loss of feeling in areas.1 More than half of all diabetics have a form of neuropathy.2 There are four significant types of diabetic neuropathy. These include, peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, proximal neuropathy, and focal neuropathy.2
Peripheral Neuropathy- this is the most common type of diabetic neuropathy. It results in numbness or pain in the feet, legs, hands, and arms. This could eventually lead to amputations.
Autonomic Neuropathy- this affects the nerves that control heart rate, blood pressure, digestive system, and sexual function.
Proximal Neuropathy- this leads to impaired nerve function in hips, thighs, and buttocks.
Focal Neuropathy- this is when pain or weakness occurs suddenly in any part of the body. The nerves in the head, torso, and extremities tend to be affected the most.
These are just the most significant types of diabetic neuropathy. There are more types that diabetics can be diagnosed with. Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy might not show immediately. So it is important to make sure you are doing everything you can to prevent it and getting checked by your diabetic doctor. Even though diabetics are at a higher risk, there are many ways to try to prevent this from happening. Having good control of type 1 diabetes can help lower the risk of diabetic neuropathy. Making sure blood glucose levels stay at a normal range and do not stay high over long periods of time is just one way that diabetics can help reduce their risk. Next time we will discuss type 1 diabetes and the affect it has on eyes.
1Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2014, August 02). Type 1 diabetes. Retrieved May 30, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-1-diabetes/basics/complications/con-20019573
2McCoy, K., MS. (2009, May 05). How to Control Diabetic Neuropathy (N. Jones MD, MPH, Ed.). Retrieved May 30, 2016, from http://www.everydayhealth.com/type-1-diabetes/diabetic-neuropathy.aspx