If you’re a diabetic, you’ve likely heard the horrifying stories of people having their feet, and even their whole limbs amputated. Unfortunately these aren’t just stories. Foot amputations are a serious diabetic complication, and they’re actually quite common. The main factor leading to such drastic outcomes is diabetic neuropathy.
To help you avoid foot or limb amputations, we’ve put together a 2-part education series about diabetic neuropathy.
In this article you will learn everything you need to know about diabetic neuropathy. In the next article we’ll share two remarkable case studies using a neuropathy treatment you may not have heard about, yet.
What Is Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy refers to damage that occurs to the nerve vessels. While it can affect any area of the body, the most common places it occurs are in the fingers, toes, and feet – known as peripheral neuropathy.
Other types of neuropathy include:
- Autonomic neuropathy, which affects internal organs.
- Amyotrophy neuropathy, also called ‘femoral’ or proximal’ neuropathy, which affects the thighs, hips, buttocks, or legs.
- Mononeuropathy neuropathy, also called “focal” neuropathy, which usually affects a singular nerve in the leg, torso or face.
Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy
The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy (most common type) are numbness, tingling, burning, inability to feel heat/cold, sensitivity, muscle weakness, diminished coordination, and foot problems including ulcers.
While these are symptoms to look out for initially, living with peripheral neuropathy can be incredibly uncomfortable and even painful. Symptoms may include burning, aching, a dreaded cold sensation, numbness, hypersensitivity, sharp pains, cramps, and very painful to touch.
Rate of Diabetic Neuropathy
It is estimated that 60-70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage. Peripheral neuropathy affects approximately 50% of diabetes patients.
Foot ulcers are the major concern in terms of neuropathies because they account for 30-50% of amputations. The foot ulcers develop because you can’t feel your feet. The ulcers get infected, lead to deeper ulceration, turn gangrene, then finally, amputation is the only option.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to prevent and treat neuropathies.
How to Prevent Diabetic Neuropathy
The damage to nerve vessels is caused by excess glucose in the blood. Therefore, the best way to prevent and slow down neuropathies is to gain good blood sugar control.
You should consult with your doctor and work toward the agreed goals, but generally your target range for tight control should be 80-120 mg/dL or 4.4-6.7 mmol/l.
You achieve these goals through daily monitoring, healthy diet choices, and regular exercise, along with medications where necessary.
Secondly, pay very close attention to your feet. Wear comfortable supportive shoes, white socks to detect any cuts or sores that may weep. And conduct regular foot examinations on yourself because the feet are one of the areas people will be most affected.
How to Treat Diabetic Neuropathy
Mainstream treatment for diabetic neuropathy is fairly limited. You will likely visit a doctor’s office, have several tests, and be sent away with medication to help with the discomfort and pain. Yet, while medication helps mask symptoms, it’s not really treatment for the problem.
It’s sad to say that many people waste time, effort, and money engaging in ineffective therapies, snake oil remedies, and fall down a rabbit hole chasing ideas that don’t end up providing any benefit.
But there is one treatment that has been making some noise: Microcurrent Point Stimulation (MPS) Therapy, such as the Dolphin Neurostim.
It’s a drug-free treatment that manipulates the autonomic nervous system by stimulating acupuncture points using an electric microcurrent. Acupuncture has also been shown to effectively relieve symptoms, but many people do not like needles. So the benefit of MPS therapy is there are no needles required!
The device used for treatment just has to make skin contact where it can stimulate the points with a concentrated direct (yet gentle) electric current. And the great news is, MPS therapy is exhibiting great results in diabetic patients.
Here is one testimonial that speaks volumes of it’s benefits. You have to watch it for yourself to see just how effective it is.
If you’re excited to learn more, stay tuned for the next installment of this 2-part series. We’ll be sharing two case studies that show the remarkable results of MPS therapy for treating diabetic neuropathy.
Pospisil, A. The Quarterly Report: Treatment of Distal Diabetic Symmetric Polyneuropathy Utilizing Microcurrent Point Stimulation, American Physical Therapy Association. Winter 2011:46(2);2-8.
US Department of Health and Human Services and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases: Diabetic neuropathies: The nerve damage of diabetes.