If you’re concerned about diabetic neuropathy, you should be aware that this condition could lead to numerous diabetes-related foot problems. This form of nerve damage can be quite serious—even life-threatening—if patients lose the ability to feel pain, heat, and cold in their feet.
About half of all people with diabetes will develop nerve damage, and those whose blood sugar levels are not well-controlled are more likely to suffer symptoms.
Some common symptoms of diabetic neuropathy include:
- Digestive problems. Early signs of diabetic neuropathy can include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and difficulty swallowing. Some individuals with the condition might feel full after only a few bites of food, or they may vomit shortly after eating.
- Pain or tingling in the extremities. Tingling or burning sensations in the fingers, arms, and legs is often an early sign of nerve damage. These feelings usually start in the feet and toes and can lead to extreme pain in the feet, ankles, and legs.
- Loss of feeling. A common side effect of nerve damage is the inability to feel any sensation in the feet or toes. Not being able to feel pain can be dangerous and can result in serious injuries. Individuals might be unaware that they have stepped on a sharp object, or they might ignore cuts and blisters, or inadvertently burn or freeze their feet when they can’t feel pain.
- Foot deformation. Patients might also be unable to sense the pain caused by corns or bunions. This can lead to additional foot problems if they continue to force their feet into shoes that no longer fit.
- Sores and infections. Many patients with diabetes-related nerve damage do not realize that their feet are injured until the damage has become severe. Since loss of sensation can cause a person to walk all day with a stone in his shoe, or not notice a blister until it bursts, patients with diabetic neuropathy often suffer foot and toe infections.
People with diabetes also frequently experience complications because of poor blood flow and an irregular diet. To find out how you can reduce your risk for nerve damage, call the trusted Phoenixville podiatrists at Healthmark Foot and Ankle Associates at 610-565-3668 in Media or at 610-933-8644 in Phoenixville.
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