Diabetes and nerve pain are closely linked, and together they can cause major problems. And by “pain,” we’re talking all the different ways that damaged nerves can affect your body. In other words, not just the shooting, burning, or electric sensations, but also numbness—the lack of pain when you really ought to feel something.
If you have diabetes, there are several things you must know about diabetes and nerve pain, whether you’ve experienced any symptoms or not.
Diabetes Is a Major Cause of Nerve Pain
Well over half of all people with diabetes will experience some amount of peripheral nerve damage during their lifetime. Nerve fibers are delicate structures, and prolonged exposure to high levels of sugar in the blood causes them to degrade.
Pain Isn’t the Only Possible Symptom
Nerves fulfill many important roles. Some are responsible for recording sensory information (touch, temperature, etc.) and sending it to the brain to be processed. Others control skeletal muscles, allowing you to walk and move. Still others operate smooth muscles and glands, which regulate things like digestion and blood pressure.
Depending on which kinds of nerves are damaged, symptoms may include things like heat intolerance, muscle weakness, poor coordination, high blood pressure, and more.
Diabetes Makes Nerve Pain Much More Dangerous
Under any circumstances, nerve pain puts your feet at substantial risk—the pain itself is far from the whole story. Pain isn’t fun, but on some level, it’s necessary. Without it, you might not know if you’ve suffered a serious injury or wound that needs immediate attention. When nerve pain blocks out other symptoms—or numbness prevents you from feeling anything at all—even serious foot injuries might get missed for hours or even days.
Diabetes compounds the problem. Now, not only are your nerves shot, but blood flow to your feet is reduced, too. When your circulation isn’t as strong, your body can’t close wounds, heal damaged tissue, or fight off invasive pathogen nearly as well. So your risk of developing chronic ulcers and infections goes through the roof—along with the risk that those ulcers develop into a problem that requires amputation to stop.
Nerve Damage Can Be Prevented or Delayed
A diabetes diagnosis does not necessary mean that nerve pain is inevitable. The best way to prevent it (or slow its progression) is to take good care of your physical health and manage your diabetes. The No. 1 cause of diabetic neuropathy is elevated blood sugar levels, so be disciplined with checking your numbers and taking your medications.
Advanced Treatment Options Exist to Help You
It wasn’t that long ago that most doctors would have said, “Sorry—there’s nothing I can do.” However, treatment options for nerve pain have come a long way in a short period of time. At Absolute Foot Care Specialists, we offer Combined Electrochemical Therapy (CECT). This promising treatment combines multiple approaches that improve circulation, reduce swelling and inflammation, and promote tissue regeneration. The relief is substantial, and in some cases, may be permanent.
If you have diabetes, give us a call today for a comprehensive foot check. We’ll test the health of your nerves and circulation and provide any additional proactive treatments you may need. Give us a call today at (702) 839-2010.