The US National Institute of Diabetes estimates that the proportion of diabetic patients suffering from some form of diabetic neuropathy is 60-70%.
It is one of the complications of type 2 diabetes (or diabetes mellitus), a condition that damages the ability of nerve fibers to transmit stimuli. This results in sensory and motor disorders, with the appearance of various symptoms such as cramps, tingling, pain especially during the night, and headaches. Neuropathy can also affect cardiovascular function, pressure regulation, intestinal function and urinary tract function.
Peripheral neuropathy is diagnosed when the hands, legs and feet are affected and autonomic neuropathy occurs when the internal organs are involved.
Prevention is fundamental
Preventing neuropathy is fundamental in the treatment of diabetes, explains Dr. Cesare Berra, Head of the Metabolic Diseases Section in Humanitas: “Diabetic neuropathy is one of the micro-vascular complications of diabetes. Complications such as nephropathy and diabetic retinopathy are prevented by treating metabolic diseases at an early stage and adequately.
Scientific data agree that the treatment of hyperglycemia is a priority as soon as possible and with the best medicines available to us. In Humanitas we have the possibility to use all new diabetes drugs, which must always be combined with an adequate educational therapy on the correct habits of life. I also remember that diabetic neuropathy is unfortunately a risk factor of the so-called diabetic foot, another dangerous complication of diabetes”.
Stop smoking, pay attention to pressure and cholesterol
Like all micro and macro-vascular complications, as well as hyperglycemia, in their genesis they recognize other factors such as hypertension (but more heavily involved in diabetic nephropathy) and cigarette smoke, which is always harmful on large and small vessels. Those who have diabetes must absolutely avoid smoking, must adequately control blood pressure (the new guidelines are satisfied with normal pressure values around 120/130 systolic and 80 mm/Hg diastolic) as well as the lipid attitude, especially LDL cholesterol which must be below 100 mg/dl “, explains Dr. Berra.