What Everyone with Diabetes Needs to Know to Prevent Nerve Damage

Diabetes has systemic effects throughout the body, oftentimes in your feet and toes. Nerve damage is one of the most dangerou

In the United States, more than 30 million people (about 10% of the population) are living with diabetes. Many more have prediabetes, which means blood sugar levels are elevated, but not as high as in full-blown diabetes. 

You may know that diabetes revolves around blood sugar levels and specifically the all-important role a hormone called insulin plays in moving sugar from your bloodstream into your cells, so they can use it for energy. 

There are two main types of chronic diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. With Type 1 diabetes, the cells in the pancreas can’t produce insulin. If the body doesn’t metabolize or use the insulin it produces correctly, that’s called Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease.

Diabetes can have devastating effects if blood sugar levels aren’t managed well. Long-term complications of diabetes can affect organs and systems throughout your body including your heart, eyes, and kidneys, as well as blood vessels and nerves.

The good news is that diabetes can be managed. Jarna Rathod-Bhatt, DPM, Rahul Bhatt, DPM, and the rest of the podiatry team here at Apple Podiatry Group are experts on diabetic foot care. They share their thoughts on what every patient with diabetes needs to know in order to prevent nerve damage. 

Be vigilant about your blood sugar levels

When it comes to nerve damage, also called diabetic neuropathy, one thing to keep in mind is that if you’ve had diabetes for 25 years or longer or if your blood sugar is not under control, you are at a higher risk of developing nerve damage. However, it doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion. 

You play an important role in controlling your blood sugar levels, so track your blood sugar levels carefully. If your levels aren’t within your target range, let your doctor know right away so they can readjust your treatment plan. 

Check your feet and toes daily

Small cuts and blisters can go unnoticed, because diabetes reduces your sensation of pain. Check your feet and toes every day, but also go a step further: Note whether you have full feeling in your feet and toes. If you start to have numbness, tingling, pain, or any loss of sensation to temperature or touch, make an appointment with us at Apple Podiatry Group right away. 

See your podiatrist regularly

Routine checkups with your podiatrist can help prevent nerve damage or limit any existing damage. An annual appointment for a thorough foot examination is important. However, you may visit us more often depending on your particular condition. We can help prevent a small cut from turning into something more serious and can show you how to maintain your foot health at home.

Understand that diabetic nerve damage can be permanent

Up to 70% of all diabetics will suffer from some form of nerve damage, and once diabetic nerve damage happens, the changes are likely permanent. But with your podiatrist’s help, you may be able to limit or prevent further damage. The key is addressing symptoms of nerve damage right away. 

To learn more about diabetic nerve damage or to make an appointment for a comprehensive diabetic foot care evaluation, contact one of our offices in Arlington or Irving, Texas. Request an appointment online or call today.

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