Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN)

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (sometimes called symmetric neuropathy of sensorimotor neuropathy) refers to nerve damage in the arms and legs brought on by diabetes. Some cases are associated with tingling, pain or numbness in the limbs. Others experience muscle weakness and impaired reflexes. It can also cause sores, blisters and infections on the feet. However, others never show any symptoms. According to the National Institutes of Health, the condition can lead to severe sensitivity to touch, which can affect balance and coordination. Symptoms are typically the worst at night. In extreme cases, the NIH reports that hammertoes and the collapse of the midfoot can occur. If an infection spreads, amputation of the limb may be required. Even so, most cases of amputation can be prevented by monitoring the condition and catching problems early on.   In general, some form of diabetic neuropathy occurs in about 60 to 70 percent of diabetic patients. It is a form of nerve damage that can affect any organ system, according to the NIH. This includes the digestive tract, heart and sex organs. Because of the condition’s wide reach, symptoms can take the form of indigestion, erectile dysfunction, constipation and more. The condition is most common among older people with diabetes. People who have had diabetes for at least 25 years are at the highest risk for developing diabetic neuropathy. So are people who struggle to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, have high blood pressure or are overweight. In terms of treatment, experts recommend healthy management of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, keeping blood glucose levels within target range, managing pain and protecting your feet are all crucial steps in keeping peripheral neuropathy at bay. Pain relievers and other medications to reduce tingling and numbness are also available. Having a complete foot exam once a year is highly recommended.

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