All About Diabetic Neuropathy
At close to 10% of the U.S. population, 29 million people suffer daily from diabetes. Along with the debilitating symptoms and complications that arise from a serious metabolic disease like diabetes, there is also a painful, symptomatic ailment called diabetic neuropathy that affects some 60 to 70% of diabetics. Though diabetic neuropathy is unfortunately common, it is important to understand the causes and implications of this symptom of diabetes in order to determine how best to treat it.
The Basics of Diabetic Neuropathy: Causes and Symptoms
Perhaps the first thing to understand about diabetic neuropathy is that it is actually a specific form of peripheral neuropathy, a painful nerve condition not exclusive to diabetics. Peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve damage that has occurred, which in turn causes weakness, discomfort and pain, and sometimes numbness in the body’s extremities.
So what’s the difference between peripheral neuropathy and diabetic neuropathy? For starters, the cause of diabetic neuropathy generally has to do with metabolic factors, such as prolonged high glucose levels, as is typical in diabetics. Researchers are also continuing to assess the root causes of diabetic neuropathy and the role that glucose, blood fat levels, and low levels of insulin play in instigating neuropathy. The general understanding is that sustained exposure to high blood sugar levels may damage nerve fibers, which are especially delicate. High blood sugar inhibits the nerve’s ability to properly send signals back to the brain. It also weakens the capillary walls, which are essential in transporting oxygen and essential nutrients to nerves to keep them healthy and functional.
In other words, diabetics are susceptible to peripheral neuropathy because of the damage done to the nerves by unregulated blood sugar levels in the body. As the nerves continue to sustain years of damage, the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy frequently worsen.
Symptoms of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
The symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy vary by person, but often begin mildly. The early signs of diabetic peripheral neuropathy may include numbness in the body’s extremities, such as in the feet. Other symptoms of diabetic neuropathy develop from there, such as tingling and pain. As the nerve damage continues over the years, what were once mild symptoms of neuropathy may develop into more intrusive, painful ones. The symptoms of diabetic nerve damage range from mild to severe, but typically include:
- Pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation in the feet and toes, legs, hand and fingers, and arms
- Muscle weakness in the feet and/or hands
- Dizziness or faintness resulting from sudden drops in blood pressure upon standing
- Overall fatigue and weakness
- Sensitivity to touch and light
- Loss of coordination or a decrease in balance
Because of the invasive and debilitating symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, additional symptoms often follow, including weight loss, loss of sleep, and depression.
Understanding Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
In order to understand diabetic peripheral neuropathy, it is important to decipher the role of the peripheral nerves. The main function of peripheral nerves is to send pertinent information to your brain and spinal cord. For instance, if your feet are cold, the peripheral nerves relay that message to the brain so that you can address it. Another primary role of peripheral nerves is to carry return signals from the brain and spinal cord and on to the muscles, in order to create motion. When diabetic peripheral neuropathy occurs, damage is done to these nerve bodies, causing a distorted or interrupted message to occur between some combination of the nerves, brain, spinal cord, and/or muscles.
The word neuropathy simply indicates nerve damage. Diabetic neuropathy, then, refers to nerve damage that has resulted from diabetes. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, diabetic nerve damage occurs in an “ascending pattern.” This means that the first nerves damages by the prolonged high levels of blood glucose are the ones whose message must travel the furthest to reach the brain and spinal cord. This is the reason why the toes, feet, and legs are often the first body parts to suffer from diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: Diagnoses and Treatment
For diabetics, an annual foot exam by a physician is an essential preventative health measure. It is also a valuable tool to measure any suspected development of diabetic neuropathy, as the foot is often the first place symptoms like tingling, numbness, or pain are experienced.
Common methods by which a physician will assess a case of diabetic neuropathy—in addition to considering family history, any potential physical trauma, and current ailments and conditions—include:
- Testing sensation in the foot by using a nylon monofilament—a tool similar to a hairbrush bristle
- Nerve conduction studies used to assess the type and the extent of any potential neuropathy
Treating Diabetic Neuropathy
Considering that pain is the most common and debilitating symptom of diabetic neuropathy, oftentimes the first step in treatment is pain management. In certain cases, common drugs that attempt to address the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy—such as Gabapentin, Lyrica, certain tricyclic antidepressants, and others—are prescribed.
There are various prescription drug and lifestyle changes that can be utilized in an attempt to mitigate the painful symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, but few of these treatment methods attempt to rectify nerve damage at the source. While prescription drugs come with a host of side effects and do little to curb the cause of nerve damage, NeuraVite is a once a day, all-natural supplement that not only helps to alleviate the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, it challenges the initial source of neuropathic pain.
Using a powerful yet natural combination of vitamins and antioxidants, NeuraVite combines the best in diabetic neuropathy treatment in an easy to consume, tested and proven capsule. The goal of NeuraVite is twofold: to alleviate neuropathic pain and numbness, while encouraging healthy rejuvenation at the nerve level.
NeuraVite stands by its product, so if you don’t experience relief from your painful neuropathy symptoms, NeuraVite will provide a 100% refund for up to a year following your order.