If you’ve recently visited the emergency care department with symptoms such as muscle numbness and fainting, you may have been diagnosed with neuropathy. Neuropathy refers to damage of the nerves. Diabetic neuropathy means that the nerve damage is associated with diabetes. This is a serious condition that can lead to additional complications, including diabetic ulcers and the loss of limbs. After your discharge from emergency care, schedule a visit with your diabetic care team to learn about your treatment options.
Signs and Symptoms
Be sure to tell your physician about all of the symptoms you’ve noticed, even if they do not appear to be related. Diabetic neuropathy is characterized by numbness, pain, and tingling in the limbs, feet, toes, hands, and fingers. Over time, the muscles may begin to atrophy. The wasting of the facial muscles is indicated by the drooping of eyelids or the mouth, and by difficulty swallowing. Patients with diabetic neuropathy may also experience dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and foot drop. Urination problems, impotence, and heat intolerance are other possible symptoms.
Causes and Risk Factors
It is believed that nerve damage with diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are poorly controlled. Certain people may be at a higher risk of developing this serious condition, including those who are advanced in age and those who have had diabetes for 25 years or more. Leading a sedentary lifestyle and being obese are other risk factors, along with having high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Smoking and alcohol use can also contribute to diabetic neuropathy.
Often, the first step patients with diabetic neuropathy are advised to take is to get their blood sugar levels under control through diet, exercise, and medication. Physicians may prescribe medications to alleviate certain symptoms, such as pain and numbness. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may also help. Additionally, patients with diabetic neuropathy should visit a podiatrist regularly and check their feet each day for signs of injury.
Patients with diabetes can find the comprehensive care they need at Fawcett Memorial Hospital. Our other specialized services include cardiac care, senior care, and emergency care. Patients in the North Port, Port Charlotte, and Punta Gorda areas can call (888) 685-1599 with any general healthcare questions they may have.