If you have chronically high blood sugar levels, you’re at risk for developing damage to your nerves, also known as peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy can creep up over time and is a serious condition that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Learn more about condition, the signs and symptoms, and what you need to do for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder of the peripheral nerves – those nerves coming away from your spinal cord. Your peripheral nervous system sends information from your brain and central nervous system to the rest of your body. But when the peripheral nerves are damaged or diseased, the communication between your brain and the other parts of your body is interrupted. This can cause muscle movement impairment, abnormal sensations in the arms and legs, and pain.
When you have uncontrolled diabetes, prolonged exposure to high blood sugar can damage delicate nerve fibers. While it’s not entirely clear why this occurs, high blood sugar weakens the walls of your small blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to your nerves. High blood sugar also interferes with the nerves’ ability to send signals.
Some symptoms you may experience with peripheral neuropathy include:
- Tingling or a feeling of “pins and needles” in your feet.
- Burning, stabbing or shooting pains in your feet.
- Sensitivity to touch. Even bed covers touching your feet may hurt.
- The feeling that you have on socks or gloves when you don’t.
- Very cold or hot feet or hands. Or trouble feeling heat or cold in your hands or feet.
- Nighttime pain in your feet.
- Numbness or no feeling in your feet.
- Weak muscles in your feet and legs. Or, an unsteadiness when standing or walking.
- Open sores on your feet and legs that heal very slowly.
Peripheral neuropathy can develop slowly over a time. But the condition can become severe and debilitating.
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