Health + Wellness

What Black People Need To Know About Diabetic Nerve Damage

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes can cause several health complications. One of those complications is diabetic neuropathy – a condition in which your nerves are damaged. This damage can lead to different organs not functioning as they should. If you’re living with diabetes, it’s essential to know how this can affect you and how to prevent it. 

What’s Diabetic Neuropathy?

In diabetic neuropathy, prolonged high blood sugar levels lead to nerve damage. Since nerves carry messages to different organs around the body, any damage to them can affect how well your body functions. For example, damage in the nerves that lead to the heart can cause changes in your heartbeat.

You can also experience changes in the sensations you feel. That’s why many people living with diabetes have numbness or tingling in their extremities. Diabetic neuropathy can also be quite painful. 

The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy usually progress gradually and can depend on which of the four types you have. Peripheral neuropathy affects the extremities so its symptoms include numbness, tingling, pain, and muscle cramps.

Autonomic neuropathy damages the nerves in the autonomic nervous system so you can expect to have difficulty swallowing, drops in blood pressure, bladder problems, and trouble with sexual response. 

Proximal neuropathy can affect anywhere between the shoulders and the legs. When it does, you can have trouble rising from a sitting position, chest pain, and shrinking thigh muscles.

Finally, you can have mononeuropathy, which only affects a specific nerve in the face, arm, torso, or legs. The symptoms of this type of neuropathy may be double vision, tingling in the fingers, weakness in the hand, and pain in the front of the thigh.

RELATED: Health Disparities and Diabetes in the Black Community

How To Prevent It

The best way to prevent diabetic neuropathy is to keep your blood sugar levels under control. To do this, you need to stick to the regimen your doctor recommends and monitor your blood glucose closely.

You also need to let your doctor know if there are any signs that your diabetes isn’t being managed well. Since the signs of neuropathy can

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