Diabetic Neuropathy

Other Complications of Diabetic neuropathy

Even though neuropathy is a complication of diabetes, neuropathy itself can also cause additional complications – some of them potentially severe or even life threatening.

Amputation. Nerve damage can cause a lack of feeling in your feet, so it’s easy for cuts and sores to go unnoticed if you don’t do a regular foot exam. Without proper wound care these small cuts or sores can become infected or ulcerated, a condition where the skin and soft tissues break down. The risk of infection is high because diabetes reduces blood flow to your feet.

Infections can spread to the bone and cause tissue death (gangrene). It may be impossible to treat with antibiotics and require amputation of a toe, foot or even the lower leg. More than half the non-traumatic lower limb amputations performed every year in the United States are due to diabetes.

  • Charcot joint – occurs when a joint, usually in the foot, deteriorates because of nerve damage. Charcot joint is marked by loss of sensation, as well as swelling, instability and sometimes deformity in the joint itself.
  • Low blood pressure- Damage to the nerves that control circulation can affect your body’s ability to adjust blood pressure. This can cause a sharp drop in blood pressure when you stand after sitting (orthostatic hypotension), which may lead to dizziness and fainting.
  • Social isolation – The pain, disability and embarrassment caused by nerve damage can rob people, particularly older adults, of their independence, leaving them increasingly isolated and depressed.

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