When you have diabetes, there are many aspects of your lifestyle that must be monitored on a daily basis in order to stay healthy. This can be a challenge and often comes with ups and downs as you figure it out. When your health is at stake though, the efforts are essential. One of the reasons it is so important to stay on top of your health when you have diabetes is to prevent nerve damage, a common complication. With diabetes, nerve damage—also called peripheral neuropathy—often affects the feet. A lack of understanding or delayed treatment when symptoms arise could lead to nerve pain and other serious complications.
Peripheral Neuropathy Basics
The nerves in your feet depend on healthy blood vessels that can deliver an adequate blood flow. Prolonged, elevated levels of blood glucose can damage the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves. In turn, this destroys nerve cells and can lead to permanent nerve damage. Damaged nerves don’t function to warn you of hazards, and you could end up with ulcers on your feet—or worse.
What are the Symptoms?
Neuropathy is a progressive condition in the sense that it will continue to worsen over time without proper treatment and intervention. If you have diabetes, please pay close attention if you experience any of the following symptoms. Even if it is minor in nature, call our office right away for diagnosis and treatment.
- Tingling in your feet (pins and needles)
- Burning sensation
- Sharp pains
- Feet are sensitive to the touch
- Loss of sensation in your feet to pain, heat and cold
- Your feet tend to get cold
- The muscles in your feet feel weak
- You have a hard time standing or walking
Is Diabetic Nerve Pain Preventable?
There are several efforts you can make to prevent neuropathy from developing, or to alleviate present symptoms and delay its progression if it has started. First and foremost, the most important factor is maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. When these remain in their target range, the risk for nerve damage decreases. Following a balanced diet and exercise plan, monitoring glucose levels, and adjusting medications if necessary are each important factors. Being overweight increases your risk for nerve damage, making it important to maintain a healthy weight if you want to avoid neuropathy. Smoking and excessive alcohol use should be avoided, as they are also risk factors for developing nerve damage. Lastly, diligent foot care is extremely important to identify symptoms or problems at the onset.
How We Can Help
We make every effort to help our patients with diabetes maintain their foot health. We understand the severity of the issues that can arise when neuropathy is not treated properly. If you are having any of the symptoms mentioned above, we will be able to help you identify the reason and develop a treatment plan to keep your feet safe and healthy. We will focus on relieving your pain, managing any present complications, and slowing down the progression of the nerve damage.
Your foot health and quality of life are of utmost importance to us – please contact Dr. Harvey Danciger at the onset of any symptom. Call our office in Palm Desert, CA at (760) 568-0108 or request an appointment online.