Diabetes is a lifestyle disease that can have many side effects and complications in the body. One of the common, yet serious conditions is diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is a type of damage to the nerves due to high blood sugar levels. It mostly affects the nerves of the legs/ feet and can be a painful condition. At times, it may also affect the nerves controlling the digestive system, heart, blood vessels and the urinary tract.
There are four types of diabetic neuropathy. A diabetic patient can have one or more than one type of neuropathy. Similarly, the symptoms can also differ on the type of neuropathy and the nerve that has been affected.
Let’s take a glance at the types of Diabetic Neuropathy and their Specific symptoms.
- Autonomic neuropathy– the term ‘auto’ means self. Therefore the autonomic nervous system controls the organ systems like the bladder, heart, stomach, eyes and intestines. It’s common symptoms are as follows:
- Bladder problems like urinary tract infection and urinary retention or incontinence
- Increased heart rate even at rest
- Nausea, vomiting, bloating and loss of appetite
- Constipation and diarrhoea
- Hypoglycaemia unawareness
- Sharp drops in blood pressure after sitting or standing
- Peripheral neuropathy- Most common form of diabetic neuropathy which affects the feet, legs followed by hands and the arms. The following symptoms become worse at night and are as follows:
- Tingling/ burning sensation
- Numbness/ reduced ability to feel pain and even temperature changes
- Weakness in the muscles
- Loss of reflexes especially in the ankles
- Loss of coordination and balance
- Foot problems that may become serious like infections, ulcers, bone and joint pain
- Hypersensitivity to touch
- Radiculoplexus neuropathy- also known as diabetic amyotrophy, it affects the nerves of the hips, thighs, legs and buttocks. It is seen more commonly in people with type 2 diabetes. The symptoms usually occur on only one side of the body and at times, may spread to other sides like:
- Weight loss
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Excruciating pain in the affected areas
- Difficulty in rising especially from a sitting position
- Mononeuropathy- It is the damage to a specific nerve in the face, leg and the torso. It is more common in older adults and is known as focal neuropathy, which strikes all of a sudden causing severe pain. Symptoms go away with a few weeks of treatment.
- Double vision
- Difficulty in focusing
- Pain behind the eyes
- Paralysis on one side of the face
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