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Diabetic Neuropathy Nerve Damage | Physiotherapy Treatment

As the name suggests, Diabetic Neuropathy occurs when there is damage to the nerves of a person who is diabetic. It often affects the nerves in the feet and hands of the person and can also occur in other parts of the body.

It can often result in a general nimbus and tiredness in parts of the hands and feet and requires one to control their blood sugar levels.

Here is a quick guide to the causes, treatments, and physiotherapy treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy: Types

There are four types of Diabetic Neuropathy. They are peripheral, autonomic, proximal, and focal.

Peripheral Neuropathy occurs in the legs and hand region and results in numbness in the region. It can result in weakness, extreme sensitivity to touch and even cause ulcers and infections. It is also the most common form of diabetic neuropathy.

Autonomic neuropathy occurs when there is an effect on the nerves that control the blood pressure, heart rate, digestive system, and sex organs. It can have impacts such as lack of awareness of low blood sugar levels, bladder problems, and problems with sexual response among others.

Proximal neuropathy affects nerves in the thighs, hips, buttocks, or legs. It can also affect the abdominal and chest area. Symptoms include chest pain, severe pain in the hip and buttocks, etc.

Mononeuropathy or focal neuropathy refers to damage to a single, specific nerve. The nerve may be in the face, torso, arm, or leg.

Causes of Diabetic Neuropathy

While the exact cause of it is not known, there are assumptions that over time blood sugar levels impact nerve reception and cause damage to it. This results in improper functioning of the nerves. High blood sugar levels also weaken the walls of small blood vessels that supply oxygen and other essential minerals, and this can have a negative impact on the nerves in the regions.

High blood sugar levels are also the causes that result in neuropathy.

Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy

Depending on the kind of diabetic neuropathy one has, the diabetic neuropathy symptoms vary. It can be conditions such as dizziness, lack of senses, extreme sensitivity, prone to infection and ulcers, and numbness in the hands and feet.

Other symptoms can include muscle weakness,  bladder problems, variation in sweating, and problems related to sexual responses as well.

All of these depend on the type and intensity of the condition, which has its own set of symptoms as mentioned above.

Diabetic Neuropathy: When to See a Doctor

It is advisable to have regular tests related to blood sugar levels done. If there has been no prior diagnosis made, it is important to ensure to go to a doctor when you start seeing the symptoms as mentioned earlier.

It is important to visit a doctor when there is severe weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and prone to infections and ulcers more than common. Other signs that will need a doctor's consultation are when there are infections that take a long time to heal, and trouble with urination. It is also important to get regular blood sugar level tests done, in order to prevent such conditions from worsening and to begin diabetic neuropathy treatments.

How to Diagnose Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy can be diagnosed through blood tests for sugar levels and confirm if you  are diabetic. This can be followed by a physical examination and a review of your medical history.

Tests such as filament testing can help understand the intensity of one's touch sensors.

Tests like sensory testing and nerve conduction testing can also be performed to gauge the responsiveness of the nerves. Muscle response tests can be performed to gauge the electric discharge produced in one's muscles.

Autonomic testing can be performed to understand the change in blood pressure as you move or change positions and to check how one sweats.

The aim is to try and understand the intensity of the sensory capabilities of the nerves in different parts of the body

Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy

The goal of medication is to reduce the progression, relieve pain and manage any complications that may arise. Hence, a person may be put on medication to control their blood pressure and sugar levels.

Prescription for anti-seizure medication and antidepressants may also be prescribed in certain conditions to relieve pain and improve mood. Other medications such as anticonvulsants and pain relief medication may also be prescribed by doctors.

It is also important to make some changes to lifestyle so that the bloody blood sugar levels can be managed and controlled naturally, with little to no medical intervention.

Physiotherapy for Diabetic Neuropathy

Physiotherapy can help a person relieve pain and reduce numbness in the legs and hands. It can also assist in controlling blood sugar levels.

Exercises such as muscle-strengthening activities help reduce pain and can reduce numbness. Electrical nerve stimulation, a type of physical therapy, can help reduce feelings of stiffness and improve the healing of ulcers. 

Gait training can help improve body posture and stability while walking and engaging in other physical activities.

Manual therapy can also help reduce pain by applying gentle pressure on the body and improving sensation.

Aerobic exercise can improve body strength and increase muscle movement that can aid in healing and reducing blood sugar levels.

Flexibility exercises can improve muscle health and allow them to strengthen over a period of time which can have a positive impact on the person's health and wellbeing.

Diabetic Neuropathy: Lifestyle & Home Remedy

It is vital to ensure that the body's blood sugar levels are as suggested by your medical professional. It needs to be checked frequently and engage in healthy lifestyles that keep a check on it.

It is important to monitor your food habits and engage in food habits that do not increase blood sugar levels to a scale that is not manageable. There is also a need for food that is rich in nutrients and minerals that keep the nerves and muscles healthy.

Engaging in physical activities such as walking, running and jogging can also improve body conditions and help keep a check on blood sugar levels.

Diabetic Neuropathy: Prevention

You can reduce the risk of diabetic neuropathy by engaging in healthy physical exercises, keeping a check on the diet, and leading a lifestyle that is balanced in terms of food consumption and physical activities.

It is also important to monitor blood sugar levels through regular checks and ensure that there are no other medical complications that arise due to diabetics.

Monitoring any infections, rate of recovery, and frequency of ulcers and other forms of numbness in the body can also be good signs to check for diabetic neuropathy.

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