When it comes to chronic pain conditions, diabetic peripheral neuropathy is at the top of the list. It is characterized by nerve damage caused to the legs, feet, hands and arms because of this insidious disease. It is different from the similar in nature arterial form of this disease, which is poor circulation of the blood because of the presence of diabetes.
There are three nerve groups that can and often are affected by this form of neuropathy, including the sensory nerves, which ensure people can feel pain and other heightened sensation; motor nerves, which allow people to control their muscles; and autonomic nerves, which help the body to perform certain automatic functions, such as sweating.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a condition that develops slowly and gets worse as the years go by; in fact, a number of people suffer from this infliction well before they are actually diagnosed with diabetes. As time goes by and the diabetes settles in, however, those suffering from it become at greater risk for developing diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
The chronic pain part of the disease comes into play in a number of ways. First, the skin is more susceptible to developing sores that don’t heal properly over time. In fact, much of the time, these sores can become infected, leading to the loss of a limb or even part of a limb. Symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy might include numbness or tingling in the extremities as well as weakened muscles or loss of clear coordination.
The first step in dealing with the problem, including the chronic pain that can come along with it, is to get the diabetes under control. This means getting blood sugar levels in a normal range before beginning to tackle the issues associated with the diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Physical therapy plays a big role in learning to cope with both the pain and the core issue itself. Medications may also be suggested to address the pain and help to manage the diabetes.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is mainly controlled through prevention, however, which in turn comes down to understanding the disease mainly associated with the condition – diabetes – and finding ways to control it as effectively as possible. This ensures these kinds of adverse health effects won’t pop up down the line as the disease starts to take a toll on the body.