Last week was National Neuropathy Awareness Week across the United States, where one in 15 people are affected by peripheral neuropathy. In diabetes, which is the leading cause of peripheral neuropathy, damage occurs in what is called in a “stocking & glove distribution”. This means that nerve problems in diabetes begin in the feet, and subsequently affect the haTake Note of Neuropathy in Your Feetnds. In those with diabetes and neuropathy, good foot care is imperative maintaining foot function and avoiding wound and foot deformity development.
The best way to avoid and control the development of peripheral neuropathy, along with the many other health consequences associated with diabetes, is to control blood sugar. When blood glucose levels remain high, glucose is metabolized into substances called sorbitol and advanced glycation end products (AGEs). In nerves, sorbitol causes an increased amount of water to accumulate, resulting in swelling of the nerve. When AGEs accumulate in nerves, they are believed to cause the nerve to stiffen and be unable to glide and stretch as needed across joints. The combination of stiffening and swelling results in the nerve being compressed by surrounding tissue. With compression, blood supply is decreased and the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy begin. Early symptoms commonly felt include tingling, burning and numbness in the feet. These symptoms are often worse at night and may be severe enough to disrupt sleep.
With time and worsening of the neuropathy, the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerve and helps it to relay information about sensation and muscle movement decreases. This results in the loss of sensation in the feet that is extremely dangerous in individuals with diabetes. With sensation loss, the ability to protect feet from painful stimuli is lost, as well as the proprioceptive information that helps maintain balance. For this reason, regular checkups with your podiatrist are critical, as well as daily self-foot exams. Feet should be monitored for any cuts, abrasions, swelling redness, or changes in foot structure. Proper shoe fit is very important in individuals with sensory loss to avoid areas of repetitive irritation that could develop into an ulcer.
Please visit www.ColumbusFoot.com for more tips for healthier and happier feet or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus Podiatry & Surgery is located on the North side of Columbus, Ohio near Worthington.
Columbus Podiatry & Surgery has opened a new location in Gahanna, near Easton. Please call 614-476-3338 (FEET) for an appointment with a podiatrist in Gahanna, OH today.