Diabetes is one of the leading causes of neuropathy in the feet, and this is called peripheral neuropathy when it occurs in the limbs. Neuropathy that is caused by diabetes is called diabetic neuropathy, and approximately 70% of patients with type 2 diabetes experience nerve damage from their condition.
Neuropathy is characterized by nerve damage, and this can cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling, weakness, and loss of feeling. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your primary care doctor has most likely given you a plan to manage your disease in order to prevent complications such as nerve damage.
Factors that need to be controlled include blood sugar levels, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and lifestyle habits. If these factors are not kept under control, neuropathy can easily develop in your feet. This is because of the feet’s distant location from the heart, which makes them more vulnerable to circulation issues such as those associated with neuropathy.
Diabetes and Neuropathy in Your Feet
Having elevated levels of blood sugar (which is characteristic of patients with type 2 diabetes) can cause damage to your nerves and blood vessels. The walls of your blood vessels will weaken due to the high blood sugar, and the nerves will therefore not receive proper nutrients and oxygen necessary to keep them healthy.
Over time, uncontrolled blood sugar levels and triglycerides can interrupt the signals that are coming from your nerves, as the nerves become damaged. The symptoms range from numbness and a sensation of pins and needles to a throbbing and burning sensation in your legs and feet.
The problem is that peripheral neuropathy can make patients with type 2 diabetes unaware that they have a wound which needs proper addressing. Plus, the damage to the blood vessels means the ability to heal wounds is also compromised. It is for this reason that patients with type 2 diabetics have slow-healing wounds that can eventually lead to the need for amputation of the foot or leg.
How Can Peripheral Neuropathy Be Prevented?
It is incredibly important to conduct regular monitoring of your blood sugar levels in order to keep it under control. The American Diabetes Association recommends patients who have type 2 diabetes to undergo an A1C test at least twice a year, which checks their blood sugar levels. The ideal blood sugar levels would be under 7%.
A crucial component of preventing diabetic neuropathy is seeing a podiatrist on a regular basis. A podiatrist can check for corns, calluses, and sores that can lead to a serious infection. Your doctor will also show you how to quickly do daily checks of your feet.
Diabetic Foot Care in Cincinnati
At Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care, our podiatrists not only treat a wide range of conditions that affect the feet of patients with type 2 diabetes, but we also provide helpful recommendations to reduce the risk of injury and infection. We offer diabetic shoes that are designed specifically with diabetic patients in mind.
To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled podiatrists, call our office nearest you or request an appointment now via our convenient online form. We look forward to helping you stay on top of your neuropathy.