Diabetic neuropathy is a severe diabetic complication that can cause pain and numbness in your extremities as well as other uncomfortable side effects. There are several different types of the condition, and if left untreated, they might lead to more grave health issues such as organ damage and even amputation.
Pay attention to the signs of diabetic neuropathy and take action if you suspect you’re affected. The earlier you identify symptoms, the easier it is to address the condition and protect yourself from further complications. For example, to reduce the pain and symptoms associated with different types of diabetic neuropathy, Dr. Williams might recommend nerve decompression to relieve pressure on the affected nerve so you can return to enjoying the activities you once did.
Four Types of Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy occurs in various parts of the body, and it’s also possible to have more than one affected area and various symptoms. Additionally, for some patients, neuropathy happens gradually over time and isn’t noticeable until nerve damage has occurred.
The four types of diabetic neuropathy are:
- Peripheral. This is the most common condition, which affects the feet and legs first, and then the hands and arms. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, and burning sensations.
- Autonomic. This impacts the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate, digestion, and bladder control. Symptoms include but aren’t limited to changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and digestive function.
- Proximal. This form of neuropathy occurs primarily in the hips, buttocks, and thighs, presenting symptoms such as pain, weakness, and difficulty moving.
- Mononeuropathy. This type affects a single nerve, most commonly in the face, torso, or leg, with symptoms like sudden weakness or pain in the affected area.
It's important to note that not everyone with diabetes develops neuropathy, and symptoms and severity of the condition vary widely among individuals. But if you’ve had a persistent problem with any of the symptoms outlined above, talk with your primary care provider to determine the underlying cause so the right treatment plan can be developed based on your specific needs. You might also need to consult with another medical specialist to rule out other non-peripheral nerve-related conditions.
Diabetic Neuropathy Treatment Options
If you’re suffering from diabetic nerve pain or other symptoms of neuropathy, such as burning or tingling, nerve decompression surgery may be a potential solution. By undergoing nerve decompression surgery, it’s possible to find relief from these painful symptoms.
The surgery works by improving blood flow to damaged nerves throughout the body. By increasing circulation and reducing pressure on the nerves, surgeons can successfully reduce pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. Patients often report significant improvements in their quality of life after the surgery.
Unfortunately, if left untreated, diabetic neuropathy can cause serious problems such as foot ulcers, infection, and amputation. Don’t wait to seek treatment until it’s too late. Dr. Williams can determine if nerve decompression surgery is the right option for you. However, not every person is a candidate for the procedure. Here are some of the key factors that determine your eligibility:
- Your A1C level must be less than 8.5, and your diabetes must be well-controlled
- A weight of under 350 pounds
- No uncontrolled swelling or restricted blood flow in your feet
- No open or unhealed wounds
- The severity of the nerve damage