What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetic Neuropathy is a condition where nerve damage occurs due to Diabetes Mellitus. This painful condition is mainly classified into four types:
- Peripheral Neuropathy: It usually affects the legs and feet and rarely affects the arms, back, and abdomen.
- Autonomic Neuropathy: This type mainly affects the digestive system or the gastrointestinal tract. It also shows an effect on sex organs, urinary system, and blood vessels.
- Proximal Neuropathy: This condition shows pain in the hips, thighs, or buttocks which is usually one-sided.
- Focal Neuropathy: It affects specific nerves, especially in the head, leg, or torso and results in muscle weakness and severe pain.
What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetic Neuropathy?
Although the condition doesn’t have any characteristic set of symptoms, each type of Diabetic Neuropathy is said to show certain signs as listed below:
Peripheral Neuropathy: The symptoms for the condition are said to get worse at night. Some symptoms are:
- Reduced perception or numbness of stimulus like pain, touch or change of temperature.
- Burning or tingling sensation.
- Muscle weakness.
- Loss of reflex in feet and legs.
- Loss of coordination and balance.
- Sharp cramps.
Autonomic Neuropathy: The condition might possibly cause:
- Complications related to the bladder, including urinary retention or urinary tract infections.
- Diarrhoea or constipation.
- Difficulty in deglutition or swallowing.
- Complications related to sex organs that include erectile dysfunction in men and vaginal dryness in women.
- Problems related to homoeostasis. Difficulty in accommodation of pupils of the eyes.
Focal Neuropathy: The condition usually shows symptoms that may include:
- Eye pain.
- Bell’s palsy or paralysis on one side of the face.
- Severe pain in certain parts of the body, including chest and belly.
What Are The Causes Of Diabetic Neuropathy?
The possible causes for Diabetic neuropathy differ based on types. Here are a few factors that are likely to cause nerve damage:
- Metabolic Factors: After prolonged diabetes, damage to delicate nerve fibres occurs as high blood sugar interferes with the nerves’ ability to transmit signals across the body. Also, high levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of insulin also contribute to nerve damage.
- Autoimmune factors: This involves inflammation of nerves.
- Lifestyle factors: These include habits of smoking and alcoholism.
- Neurovascular factors: Damage of blood vessels that supply oxygen to nerves results in damage to the nerves.
- Other factors like a mechanical injury to the nerves.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Diabetic Neuropathy?
The following are considered as the important factors in controlling or preventing Diabetic Neuropathy:
- Keep track of blood sugar levels periodically.
- Take care of toenails as it avoids getting foot sores or ulcers.
- Wear shoes or sandals that fit well and make sure the feet don't get injured.
- Take small meals so that your body can maintain blood glucose control
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Diabetic Neuropathy?
The factors that should be completely avoided to control or prevent Diabetic Neuropathy include:
- Avoid exposure to triggering factors of increased blood sugar.
- Avoid overeating as it contributes to abnormal body weight.
- Don’t skip the medication otherwise clinically significant breakthrough effects are likely to be observed.
- Don’t walk barefooted at any cost as diabetic patients take more time to heal the foot injury.
What Are The Best Foods For Diabetic Neuropathy?
The best food recommended for Diabetic Neuropathy include those which help in maintaining normal blood sugar levels:
- Broccoli: With the help of a compound called sulforaphane, this helps in triggering anti-inflammatory processes in the body to reduce blood sugar levels and control damage of blood vessels.
- Apples: These have high amounts of antioxidants and significantly lower the Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDLs) in the body. This helps in lowering the abnormal cholesterol levels in the body.
- Blueberries: As good sources of both soluble and insoluble fibres, these help in removing excess fat out of the body as well as improving control of blood sugar levels. It also stimulates the release of the adiponectin hormone, which helps in lowering of blood glucose and increases insulin sensitivity.
- Asparagus: This non-starchy vegetable contains high levels of antioxidant called glutathione that helps in easing the effects of diabetes and other neurovascular disorders.
- Oats: Oatmeal has high levels of magnesium that helps the body to utilise glucose efficiently and secrete insulin properly.
- Avocados: These are good sources of healthy monosaturated fat content to serve as a substitute for saturated fat containing foods.
- Dark Chocolate: Dark Chocolates are rich sources of flavonoids which are seen to reduce insulin resistance, lower fasting blood glucose levels, improve insulin sensitivity in the body.
- Fish: As a rich source of omega-3-fatty acid, fish helps to decrease inflammation in the body.
- Olive oil: Including olive oil in a diabetic diet has shown to significantly reduce the risk of diabetes in comparison with a low-fat diet. It is also a good source of antioxidants that help in preventing cellular damage.
- Brown rice or wild rice: In contrast to white rice, these have higher levels of fibres that help in slowing down the rush of glucose into the bloodstream.
- Black Coffee and Green tea: Green tea helps in hydrating and further stabilises blood sugar levels and increases body metabolism. Black coffee has low calories and carbohydrates to maintain normal blood glucose levels.
- Cinnamon: This spice helps in reducing blood glucose levels and LDL and VLDL levels. With the use of cinnamon, Hb1Ac levels and fasting blood sugar levels were significantly decreased because of the presence of chromium that increases insulin activity.
What Are The Worst Foods For Diabetic Neuropathy?
Here are certain foods that are to be avoided in order to control or prevent Diabetic Neuropathy:
- Candy, cookies: These are high-sugar containing foods and also lack nutritional value, which causes a dramatic spike in blood glucose levels.
- Processed, refined, white carbs: White rice flour increase blood-glucose levels and hardly contribute to satisfying one’ appetite. These include white bread, white pasta, and other refined starches.
- Baked snacks, cakes, and pastries: These contain a combination of sugar with white flour and also sodium, saturated fats, and preservatives. These not only increase blood glucose levels but also increase bad cholesterol levels in the body.
- Bacon: These contain great amounts of saturated fats that promote inflammation.
- Whole milk and its products: Not only it contains higher levels of carbohydrates, it also worsens insulin resistance in the body.
- Roasted nuts: These are shown to perpetuate damaged receptors on the cells and thus worsen insulin resistance.
- Dried fruits: Although these contain a high concentration of essential nutrients, sugar levels are also high in dry fruits due to loss of water.
What Are The Medicines For Diabetic Neuropathy?
What Are The Tips To Manage Diabetic Neuropathy?
Regular exercise helps in improving the condition of diabetes and also lowers abnormal cholesterol levels.