Diabetes and Neuropathy Feature

Neuropathy most commonly occurs in feet, arms, hands and legs
Neuropathy most commonly occurs in feet, arms, hands and legs.

Neuropathy is one of the most common diabetes complications, affecting between 60% and 70% of people with diabetes at some stage. Neuropathy simply means nerve damage, and can occur in every organ system but most commonly in the feet, arms, hands and legs.

Neuropathy is most common amongst people who have had diabetes for at least 25 years, and also more common amongst those who have trouble controlling their blood glucose.

Furthermore, those who are overweight and have high blood pressure face a greater risk.

What causes Neuropathy?

Neuropathy can be caused by high blood glucose, abnormal blood fat, damage in the blood vessels, autoimmune factors, injury to nerves, inherited traits and lifestyle factors such as alcohol or smoking.

Neuropathy symptoms

Symptoms depend on the type of neuropathy but can include:

  • numbness
  • muscle wasting
  • indigestion
  • dizziness
  • urination problem
  • erectile dysfunction
  • weakness and others.

How is Neuropathy treated?

Diabetic neuropathies are treated by bringing glucose levels under control, medication, treatments such as creams.

Community perspectives

  • Dobbs: I also had neuropathy for a time (which is what led me to discover I was diabetic) but after about a year of controlling my levels it subsided considerably and now I'm rarely aware of it and it almost never bothers me. I do believe tight control of your levels is the only way towards longer-term improvement, but these other suggestions are great if they bring a bit of relief while you're waiting for things to improve.
  • Lillibet: Tight control of blood glucose can in some cases reverse neuropathy - though to what degree I don’t suppose anyone can say. I’ve also read of supplements which can help: Alpha Lipoic, Acid, Evening Primrose Oil, Benfotiamine, Vit C
  • Roy948: I have similar burning sensations in my ankles and feet, ask you doctor to try a capsule called LYRICA, for me it has worked wonders.
  • Donal Bredin: I have suffered for a few years with this. It seems to get worse in cold weather. This winter after getting it bad I did a number of things:
    - I went online and got some very thick warm socks
    - I went on the vitamin B complex.
    - I gave up the statin pills I was on for cholesterol.
    - I made sure the electric blanket was on for at least one hour before I went to bed.
Your Comments
 
I have suffered neuropathy and apart from the obvious symptoms my toenails have become hardened and malformed all the podiatrist seems able to do is cut them. Is there any permanant cure I wonder?
Posted by Richie on Monday, May 03, 2010
I have type 2 diabetes. I do not know whether to stop taking statins and if this will help stop neuropathy. I was thinking of taking evening primrose oil, too.
Posted by Susang, staffordshire on Friday, April 30, 2010
I have type 1.5 which is very hard to control - deficient and resistant. One night, I shot enough insulin to kill an elephant and it had no effect. As my doctor was relatively negligent and told me mental problems were causing me to black out; and have uncontrolled retching when I was way high I guess, it took him 2 years to diagnose diabetes, and only because I blacked out into a coma at his feet... in those 2 years I developed gastroparesis of the stomach and it was graded as the worst, it continues to bother me but now I take Domperidone 10mg with meals (reglan caused worse nerve damage) and it makes the stomach move food along. I also take Prilosec 10mg whenever I need it for burping like a fog horn or general indigestion discomfort. I guess I have damage is in my fingers as I have been dropping things for about a year and have a hard time turning pages....good luck to eveyone with this dreaded disease.
Posted by jeanneb on Friday, April 30, 2010
I am a Diabetic - Type 2 - on Insulin for since 1985 and before that I was on a tablets which was not working hence my consultant started me on insulin. I do have no other problems but erectile dysfunction has developed - for that I am using injections. No one cay say surely that diabetes can be totally controlled.
Posted by Mohammad Akram, Ilford on Thursday, April 29, 2010
I have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, as has my sister I am 66 my sister is 59, they are monitoring our problems and treating it with exercise and diet at the moment, one of the worse problems we have at the moment is a very severe pain in one of our heels it gets so bad we can hardly walk and it hurts to stand in one position for to long a time is this anything to do with diabetes, we have both also been diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol I have also got an underactive thyroid all this has happened to the both of since last November. Could you please shine a light on this because it really is getting very annoying.
Posted by sandie66nan, south wales on Thursday, April 29, 2010
I suffer very badly from this and have done since November last year. I am in a lot of constant pain and at times unable to walk. I have to go to Physiotherapy every weekday for about two hours to stop muscle wastage. Blood sugars are under control but damage has been done to nerves, Doc and Neurologist say this could last for years as opposed to months.
Posted by Jack, Cyprus on Thursday, April 29, 2010
I have been having a lot pain in my joints and circulation problems. I believe I am suffering from neuropathy but my doctor hasn't done much. Thanks for this page. I'm now going to show my doctor this page regarding diabetes and neuropathy.
Posted by james cromie, Belfast on Thursday, April 29, 2010
I'm starting to wonder if I'm suffering from this. I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic 3 years ago, but have been siffering with really bad indigestion and acid in my stomach as well as some pain over the last 7 or 8 weeks. It sometimes subsides but is really getting me down. However the fact I've only had diabetes for 3 years makes me question this?
Posted by Natasha, London on Thursday, April 29, 2010
Absolute tosh to say it's mainly down to good blood glucose control. I have had diabetes Type 1 for over 38 years. I have developed neuropathy in the rear right hamstring area and I have never had a HB level of over 7. I have had it for 5 years and the hospitals have tried everything including nerve blocks, botox, steriod injections, gabapentin and every pill under the sun, creams and accupuncture. Still no affect. I can't sit properly. Tight controls don't enter into it, being diabetic for 38 years is more likely the cause for me.
Posted by Roy G, Borehamwood on Thursday, April 29, 2010
Diabetic neuropathy is important. Why then are statins given to diabetics because polyneuropathy is an admitted adverse reaction to statins? I have seen reports that advise against statins in diabetics but they are usually ignored.
Posted by M Cawdery, NI on Thursday, April 29, 2010
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