If you suffer from diabetes, then you may be at risk of developing diabetic neuropathy in legs. Diabetic neuropathy is a nervous disorder that is caused by diabetes, and affects the nerves of your body, but most commonly those of the feet and the legs. If you are diabetic, you should pay proper attention to your feet and lower legs, as diabetic neuropathy in legs may develop without your notice, and becomes more serious the longer it goes untreated.
Diabetic neuropathy in legs may develop whether you have type 1 or 2 diabetes. However, it may not develop for years in type 1 diabetes, but in type 2 diabetes it may occur sooner, especially when your diabetes is going untreated. Diabetic neuropathy in legs falls under the peripheral neuropathy category, which affects the peripheral nerves in your limbs. It can cause numbness in your legs, feet and toes.
It should also be noted that diabetic neuropathy in legs does not occur in all diabetic patients. Other factors are involved, and according to research, activities such as smoking or alcohol consumption can also lead to nerve damage. The duration of diabetes and your cholesterol levels are also observed to increase your chances of developing the condition, so diabetic patients are encouraged to pay close attention to their diet. Genetic traits may also contribute to the condition, as well as nerve injury that may be caused by the carpal tunnel syndrome, for instance.
Diabetic neuropathy in legs may go unnoticed for a long time. This is because they are usually very slight at first. You may have some numbness or pins and needles sensation in your feet or legs. After a number of years, this may progress into muscle weakness. The condition may also lead to shrinking of the muscles of the feet.
Diabetic neuropathy in legs can be prevented by ensuring that your blood sugar levels are maintained within the target range. However, if you already have the condition, then you should consult your doctor who will give you treatment that will assist you to do this. You should also pay attention to good care of your feet if you have diabetes because as neuropathy progresses, you may lose all feeling in the feet, and an ulcer or wound may form without your notice. Part of your daily routine should be foot care.
Ensure that you examine your feet and legs daily, so that you will notice any slight change. Usually, you will not pay much attention to your feet, but it will become necessary to form this habit when you are at risk of developing diabetic neuropathy in legs. You should also apply lotion to your feet if they are dry, and care for your nails regularly. You can visit a podiatrist (a doctor who specializes in foot care) if you have corns, calluses or very thick or ingrown toenails. Well-fitting shoes and socks are encouraged, while sandals or going barefoot is not recommended.