Diabetic neuropathy is the medical term for diabetes induced nerve damage. It affects up to 70% of the diabetics.
High glucose causes chemical changes in the nerves that impair their ability to send signals as a result of which sensations in the feet are lost. Diabetes affects sensory, autonomic and motor neurons hence can affect any organ or system as all are innervated by nerves.
Diabetic neuropathy (peripheral) is one of the most important cause of diabetic foot. Neuropathy or damaged nerves result in NO PAIN in patients with wounds due to which patient do not take medical treatment promptly and end up getting complications like ulcer, necrosis, gangrene and sometimes amputations.
All patients suffering from neuropathy may not have symptoms hence prompt medical intervention or foot care is not taken. Following could be the presenting complaints in some patients.
SYMPTOMS OF NEUROPATHY:
1) Tingling and burning in the feet.
2) Vague sensations in the feet…patient feels as if walking on the cotton wool/ ice.
4) Erectile dysfunction.
5) Urinary incontinence.
6) Improper digestion (due to weak gastric nerves).
7) Chappals or sandals coming out of the feet without patients knowledge.
There are treatment available for symptomatic relief in neuropathy but the fact that cannot be ignored is proper foot care in diabetes to prevent further complications.
Foot care tips:
• Examination of the feet daily. Look for any wound, discharge, change in colour, foul smell. Seek medical
advice on the same day if there is anything.
• Cut and trim nails regularly to avoid fungal infection but not too deep in the nail bed.
• Wear cotton socks, changed daily, preferably inside out.
• Shoe size for a diabetic should always be one size bigger than actual size.
• Never walk barefoot.
• Keep feet clean.
• Feet should always be dried after washing especially web spaces to avoid fungal infection.
• Do not continue walking if there is foot ulcer.