Diabetes Basics

Diabetic Neuropathy


When the cause of the whole is not known, naturally, the cause of its part will also not be known. The arrival and operation of diabetes is like a Secret Service operation. Everything about it works on, more or less, blind guesses. After all, when the cause is not known, the treatment is akin to shooting in the dark, in which case even if the arrow finds the mark you may still be left wondering what made it hit the proverbial bull's eye. Therefore, in absence of a proper understanding of the cause, the treatment  becomes very difficult.

The causes of diabetic neuropathy are not known till date. A little reason, a certain degree of understanding, a bit of induction and some practical experience with quite a handsome amount of guess work goes into our present understanding of what causes diabetic neuropathy. In other words, it's much like saying, “All crows are black but all black beings are not crows.” The reasons are thus, vagueness enveloped in ambiguity!

When you have unbearable, recurring pain, the whole world seems ignoble. Diabetic neuropathy is a peripheral nerve disorder caused by diabetes. An interesting feature of diabetic neuropathy is that it does not strike as a brute soldier. It is as systematic in its approach as a seasoned military general. It begins at your feet as though it were greeting you before unleashing the misery. In the beginning, numbness, pain, or tingling is felt in the feet or legs which may take years to slowly weaken the muscles of one's feet.

Diabetic neuropathy may, however, also flare up suddenly and affect specific nerves so as to cause double vision or drooping eyelids, or weakness and atrophy of the thigh muscles. Nerve damage caused by diabetes generally occurs over a period of years and may lead to problems with the digestive tract and sexual organs. This can cause indigestion, diarrhea or constipation, dizziness, bladder infections, and impotence. An additional risk is there from the loss of sensation in the feet. One might not realize when one is hurt in the foot and the injury may develop into ulcers or lesions, which might get infected, creating further complications.

Diabetes patients have some form of neuropathy in their feet. About 5 % of the diabetes patients will suffer this painful experience and the pain increases with the age. The specific causes of diabetic neuropathy are not known. Various studies however, indicate that proper sugar control helps to control neuropathy as well. There is no treatment for this numbness associated with severe pain. Many treatments are there however, to take care of pain. These are mostly some sort of pain killers. They relieve the pain temporarily and do no more. No medications were approved by the FDA till September 2004. Cymbalta duloxetine HCI, then succeeded in getting the approval of the FDA. The doses prescribed are 60 and 120 mg per day. Medications like amitriptyline, desipramine and nortriptyline work well to reduce pain, but they are not the ones approved by the FDA.

However, over-the-counter medications are known for quick relief, but they obviously are no cure. The traditional remedies have their own place. In some cases, they may ensure positive and permanent relief but there is no cut and dry method for safe cure of Diabetic Neuropathy. The most effective method to check Diabetic Neuropathy may be summed up thus:

1. Try to keep your blood sugar under control.
2. Exercise regularly because it helps to correct the metabolism and thus increases circulation of blood and growth of new vessels.
3. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

It takes a lifestyle makeover to check Diabetic neuropathy. So, give up all those irregular schedules and errant eating habits. That's the best you can do to ensure that diabetic neuropathy remains manageable.