We have 100s of nerves that carry electrical messages throughout the body. Our overall health depends upon a healthy nerve system. In people with longstanding diabetes, up to 70% will develop a condition called neuropathy, a disease of the nerves. This is a troublesome problem that has many health consequences.
There are three types of neuropathy:
Peripheral Neuropathy: Pain, tingling, weakness, and/or no feeling in the legs, feet, toes, arms, hands or fingers.
Focal Neuropathy: Comes on rapidly. There is damage to a grouping of nerves, for example, to the eyes, ultimately affecting the vision.
Autonomic Neuropathy: These nerves control automatic body processes such as digestion, sexual function and bladder control. A problem might be gastroparesis or paralysis of the stomach.
People who are older or who have had diabetes for many years are at the greatest risk for developing neuropathy. But young people who don’t have good control of their diabetes are at risk also.
If you have diabetes, it is so important to maintain excellent blood glucose levels every day:
- Eat a healthy diet with moderate portions of carbohydrate foods.
- Get in daily exercise.
- Check blood glucose daily.
- Keep your doctor appointments. If you are developing neuropathy it can be picked up really early.