Diabetic Neuropathy

We don’t know exactly what causes diabetic neuropathy, but we do know what we can do to ease your pain and symptoms.

There’s more to diabetes than blood sugar.

Diabetic Complications

If you have diabetes, you can develop nerve problems at any time. Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder caused by diabetes, and since it affects the nerves in your body, it can lead to symptoms and problems in every organ and organ system.

The exact cause of diabetic neuropathy is unknown, but we do know that your risk of developing neuropathy increases the longer you have diabetes, and about half of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy.

There is no cure or treatment that directly addresses the root cause of diabetic neuropathy, so at INTEGRIS Health our pain management team and other specialists focus on making you comfortable. We’ll do all we can to relieve your pain and make your life as full and fulfilling as possible.

Understanding Diabetic Neuropathy

The following are the most common symptoms for diabetic neuropathy. However, you may experience symptoms differently – and these symptoms may resemble other conditions or medical problems, so it’s always best to talk with your doctor. Diabetic neuropathy symptoms include:

  • Numbness in the hands or feet
  • Pain in the hands, feet, or legs
  • Problems with internal organs, such as the digestive tract, heart, or sexual organs causing the following:
    • Indigestion
    • Diarrhea or constipation
    • Dizziness
    • Bladder infections
    • Impotence
    • Weakness
    • Weight loss
    • Depression

If your doctor thinks you might have diabetic neuropathy, exams and tests will be required to reach an accurate diagnosis. This begins with your physician asking questions about your health history, symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease. Your doctor will check your muscle strength, reflexes and sensitivity to position, vibration, temperature and touch. More in-depth tests may include:

  • Nerve Conduction Studies: Checks flow of electrical current through a nerve.
  • Electromyography: Determines how muscles respond to electrical impulses.
  • Ultrasound: Determines how parts of the urinary tract are functioning.
  • Nerve Biopsy: Removal of a sample of nerve for examination.

Since there is no cure or direct treatment for the underlying cause of diabetic neuropathy, the goal of treatment is to relieve pain and discomfort, as well as to prevent additional tissue damage. Treatment may include:

  • Pain medications
  • Antidepressant medications
  • Topical creams
  • Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy
  • Hypnosis
  • Relaxation training
  • Biofeedback training
  • Acupuncture

You also may be prescribed further treatment to address the complications of neuropathy, such as gastrointestinal problems, dizziness, weakness and urinary or sexual problems.

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