Diabetic Nerve Pain

In order to understand diabetic nerve pain, we must first understand what diabetes is. Diabetes is a medical life long condition caused by having an excess of blood glucose in the body.
Blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) is always present in the blood. It comes from the energy giving foods we eat (which are carbohydrates) and is transported by blood to supply energy to cells. The level of blood sugar fluctuates during the day. It is usually high after we eat and then gradually reduces with time. Blood glucose is regulated by a hormone called insulin which prevents it from getting to harmful levels which can cause diabetes. Production of too little or no insulin can cause various forms of diabetes, the main ones being; Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

 

Diabetic Nerve Pain

Diabetic nerve pain (also known as diabetic peripheral neuropathy) is damage caused by diabetes to nerves over time. It is usually felt at the extremities of the body, mainly hands and feet, but can also occur in other parts of the body. Of all people living with diabetes, 60 to 70% experience some form of diabetic nerve pain.

Symptoms of Diabetic Nerve Pain

Diabetic nerve pain is experienced differently from other forms of pain such as headaches or spraining a leg. This damage to the nerves can cause pain when doing harmless activities such as dressing or rubbing the feet.
Common symptoms of diabetic nerve pain include tingling or numbness of hands and feet, constipation/ indigestion, wasting away of muscles and general body weakness. Diabetic nerve pain can also affect the eyes, buttocks, thighs, heart and sex organs.

Dealing with Diabetes Nerve Pain

One of the ways to manage diabetic nerve pain is to manage the diabetes itself. Keeping blood sugar levels within the healthy non diabetic limits is one way to do this. Although the damage to nerves is close to irreversible, opening up and speaking to a loved one or a professional could help ease the emotional stress caused by diabetic nerve pain.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 Americans living with diabetes don’t know. It is therefore advised to regularly go for blood sugar tests to rule out any risks. Early detection of diabetes could help prevent the onset of nerve damage. Experiencing any of the symptoms listed earlier in the article should prompt one to seek medical assistance, diabetic or not.

REFERENCES
http://nihseniorhealth.gov/diabetes/diabetesdefined/01.html
http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/blood-glucose
http://www.diabetespainhelp.com/about-diabetic-nerve-pain
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/diabetic-neuropathies-nerve-damage-diabetes/Pages/diabetic-neuropathies-nerve-damage.aspx
http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/12/how-to-deal-with-nerve-pain-if-you-have-diabetes/
http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2014/06/10/1-in-4-americans-living-with-diabetes-dont-know/

See also: What is Diabetic Neuropathy?