Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is the most common form of diabetic nerve damage. It is thought to occur as a result of prolonged high blood sugar. Symptoms can vary from mild to very painful and debilitating.
Symptoms of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy ranges from pain to numbness in the feet or legs. Symptoms are often worse at night and include:
- Tingling or burning sensation
- Sharp pains
- Increased sensitivity to touch
- Decreased ability to feel pain from an injury
- Reduced sensitivity to temperature
Complications of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy can be very uncomfortable, and it can also lead to the loss of a toe, foot or even an entire leg. This is because the nerve damage can affect feeling in the feet, so a minor cut or ingrown toenail can easily go unnoticed. Diabetes tends to slow circulation in the lower legs. This causes sores to take much longer than normal to heal.
The nerve damage and poor circulation enable minor injuries to quickly grow worse. They are prone to infection that can easily spread to the bone or surrounding tissue. These infections don’t heal well due to the circulatory issues. In many cases the only course of treatment is to remove the affected toe, foot or leg. By far the easiest and most effective way to handle diabetic foot injuries is to be careful to prevent them in the first place.
Good Foot Care can Prevent Problems
By taking good care of their feet, diabetics can make a big impact on their health and comfort. Experts recommend that diabetics take care of their feet by:
- Having a foot exam at least once each year
- Wearing well-fitting shoes at all times, indoors and out
- Wearing seamless cotton socks that are not tight
- Visually inspecting feet every day for cuts, blisters, cracked skin or redness
- Keeping feet clean and dry
- Moisturizing feet with lotion daily. Avoid getting lotion between toes where it can irritate skin.
Living with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy can be a Challenge – but Elderly Care can Help
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy can make many aspects of life challenging. Walking with the pain and numbness can be exhausting, and it can put seniors at a higher risk of falling. Getting the mail, cooking and housework can become overwhelming. Even activities such as dressing and bathing can become more difficult.
Staying active with walks, Tai Chi or other gentle movements can be helpful, and getting appropriate help to ease the burden is essential. Elderly care services offer solutions for seniors facing challenges related to diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Elderly care aides can help in a number of ways, including:
- Steadying seniors who need help walking, or getting up from a chair.
- Going for walks with seniors who want to stay active safely.
- Driving seniors to appointments or Tai Chi classes.
- Assisting with shopping or errands which may be tiring or painful for the senior.
- Assisting with bathing, dressing and personal care.
- Providing daily foot inspections and foot care.
- Taking care of cooking, laundry and housework.
- Helping out with the little things around the house, like getting the mail, cleaning the kitty litter box or watering the plants.
While there may be many tasks that are challenging, exhausting or unsafe for those with diabetic neuropathy, with the proper support in place, seniors can still enjoy independence in their own home and a high quality of life.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elder Care in Marysville, CA, talk to the caring staff at Partners in Care today. Serving El Dorado, Nevada, Yuba, Sutter, Sacramento, Placer, Butte, Glenn, Yolo, & Colusa Counties! Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! (530) 268-7423
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