According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25.8 million people in the United States have diabetes. Typically, 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some sort of nerve problems, know as neuropathy.

Neuropathy is a shorter term for peripheral neuropathy, meaning nerve damage in the peripheral nervous system. Neuropathy from diabetes can damage the nerves in your hands, arms, feet and legs. This condition can cause pain, numbness and weakness. Depending on the degree of neuropathy, and how long you have been a diabetic, nerve problems can occur in every organ system, including the digestive tract, heart and reproductive organs.

The highest rates of neuropathy are among people who have had diabetes for at least 25 years. Diabetic neuropathy also appears to be more common in people who have issues with controlling their blood glucose, have high blood pressure and are overweight.

Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy vary depending on the nerves affected and develop gradually over the years. Symptoms may include:

  • Trouble with balance
  • Numbness and tingling of extremities
  • Abnormal sensation to a body part (Dysesthesia)
  • Diarrhea
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vision changes
  • Burning or electric pain in extremities

When treating diabetic neuropathy, a nutritionist may recommend healthier food choices and exercise to help lower your glucose and glycohemoglobin levels. Additionally, analgesics and low doses of antidepressants can be prescribed for pain relief, burning and tingling.

If you are a diabetic and have been experiencing symptoms of neuropathy, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center and Department of Nutrition can help. Call 718-206-7001 to get the process started.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.