Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes. It occurs when nerves are damaged by high blood sugar. It’s most common for diabetic neuropathy to affect the nerves in the legs and feet, which can make walking painful or throw off gait, making falls more common. If your aging relative has diabetes, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of diabetic neuropathy.
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy?
There are actually multiple kinds of diabetic neuropathy that are classified by which nerves they affect. The most common kind is peripheral neuropathy. It typically starts in the legs and feet and later spreads to the hands and arms. The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are usually at their worst during the evening and nighttime hours. Symptoms caused by this kind of diabetic neuropathy are:
- A feeling of numbness that can make it harder to feel pain or changes in temperature.
- A burning or tingling feeling.
- Sharp pains and cramps.
- Being touch sensitive so that even a bed sheet lying across the feet can hurt.
- Weakened muscles.
- Poor reflexes.
- Lack of balance and coordination.
- Ulcers, infections, and joint pain in the feet.
How Can Diabetic Neuropathy Be Prevented?
Because neuropathy can lead to toe, foot, or even leg amputation as well as other problems, the best way to deal with it is to prevent it from happening at all. The best way to prevent diabetic neuropathy is to keep blood sugar levels under control. Some tips for preventing or slowing diabetic neuropathy are:
- Know what the doctor has set as the senior’s target blood sugar range and strive to keep numbers there.
- Make certain the older adult checks their blood sugar according to the schedule set by the doctor. Record the results so the doctor can see if treatment needs to be changed.
- Have A1C tested at least twice per year, which helps to determine how well blood sugar is controlled.
- Take good care of the older adult’s feet. Feet should be washed and thoroughly dry every day. Inspect them for sores and blisters and take steps to treat injuries immediately to prevent infection. Use moisturizer to keep feet from cracking.
Elder care providers can help older adults to prevent diabetic neuropathy. An elder care provider can assist with sticking to the doctor’s treatment plan by reminding them when to check blood sugar and take medications. Elder care providers can also prepare meals that help to keep blood sugar under control. In addition, an elder care provider can perform daily foot care, including washing, inspecting, and bandaging any injuries.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Billings, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Billings today at 406-839-2390.