Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce insulin, a hormone the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. Glucose is a simple sugar used for energy which is created by the body—specifically the pancreas—by breaking down the sugars and starches that are consumed. The most common complication impacting patients with diabetes is neuropathy—nerve damage.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is nerve damage that affects the peripheral nerves. It most commonly causes pain or loss of feeling in the arms, hands, legs, feet, and toes. This is the most frequently occurring type of neuropathy, but there are others:
• Proximal neuropathy causes pain in the hips, thighs, pelvis, and buttocks.
• Focal neuropathy “focuses” damage to a specific nerve or group of nerves.
• Autonomic neuropathy damages the nerves that control the organs, which will impact a range of crucial bodily functions.
According to WebMD.com about 60 to 70 percent of all people with diabetes will eventually suffer from some form of peripheral neuropathy. While this nerve damage is not reversible, there are ways to help prevent it, and to lessen its severity once it occurs.
In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, some medical options for DPN are available. Pain medications may help ease nerve pain, either over-the-counter or by prescription. These include opioids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and some topical treatments. Some treatments, such as acupuncture, alpha lipoic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, that have been tested in randomized clinical trials are not recommended due to needing additional high quality testing or failing to demonstrate a significant improvement in the condition.
Researchers are exploring more options, and also are looking for the reason why and how neuropathy occurs in order to not only provide better treatment options, but eventually find a cure and ways to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Ongoing research is critical to improving the lives of diabetics. Meridien Research has multiple clinical trials for diabetes that are enrolling now at our clinics in Florida. For more information or to see if you or someone you know may qualify to participate, please contact us today at 1-888-777-8839 or visit our individual study pages.