Diabetic neuropathy is a serious condition that affects 50 percent of people who suffer from diabetes. Neuropathy can manifest itself as burning, tingling, pain or numbness in the feet. Often balance is also a problem.
Although the cause is not completely understood, risk factors include control of blood sugar, duration of diabetes, amount of damage to the blood vessels, smoking and diet.
Neuropathy not only can affect the peripheral nerves - those in the arms and legs - but also other nerves that control blood pressure and sweating.
Diabetic neuropathy may lead to devastating consequences including foot deformity, ulceration, stress fractures, and amputations. Sixty percent of amputations are due to diabetic neuropathy.
This chronic condition is extremely complicated in nature and treatment has always been a great challenge. There have been many treatments that include drugs that target nerves, glucose and blood flow. Also topical drugs (drugs applied to the skin), nerve blocks, antidepressant drugs, transcutaneous nerve stimulation, analgesics (pain drugs), Anodyne physical therapy, nerve decompression (surgery) and vitamins. Still with all these treatments, there is no truly effective cure. However, medications offer hope that diabetic neuropathy can be controlled.
If you or someone you know has diabetic neuropathy, help may be within reach.