WELCOME TO DIABETIC ENJOYING FOOD

I have chosen this name for this blog because it truly states my story. I am a type II diabetic who most certainly enjoys food. When I was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago, my blood sugar level was over 400. With some oral medications, a lot of research and some trial and error, I have found that unlike my ancestors I truly can continue to enjoy food. I hope this blog will help you to also enjoy food and be healthy. Some recipes are my originals and some I have collected.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NEUROPATHY AND THE DIABETIC

Neuropathy is a functional change or pathological disturbance in the peripheral nerves. Know anymore than you did? Probably not. Let's see if we can get a better understanding of what all that mumbo-jumbo means!

The human body's nervous system has two main parts with the Central Nervous System being the one we hear the most about. This is the part of the nervous system that includes the brain and spinal cord. The one we hear less about is also a very important one. The Peripheral Nervous System is made up of the nerves that connect the Central Nervous System to the other organs and muscles in the body. As you can imagine, the peripheral nerves affect a lot of areas of the body. Now back to our original definition of neuropathy, a functional change or pathological disturbance in the peripheral nerves, one can see how neuropathy can become a big problem.

The peripheral nervous system is made up of three different types of nerves. They are motor nerves, which are responsible for voluntary movements such as waving goodbye, walking, etc. Another is sensory nerves which allow us to feel pain, hot and cold, etc. The third type is the autonomic nerves. As the name implies, these nerves control our involuntary movements such as breathing, heart beats, etc. Obviously, the nervous system is very complex and one of more nerves may be involved in neuropathy.

Symptoms of neuropathy can come on suddenly or gradually over time, depending on the types of nerves involved. Unfortunately, diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathy so we diabetics need to be aware of the symptoms because early intervention is important in treatment and recovery. In most cases, the early symptoms are weakness, pain, or numbness. Symptoms such as difficulty walking, stumbling or tiring easily, muscle cramps, trouble holding onto objects, an unsteady gait, dizziness when standing up may be symptoms. Some people complain of their hands and feet feeling as though they are wearing gloves or slippers when they are not. Because the peripheral nerves involve so many areas, there are many different types of symptoms. This can lead to problems getting a diagnosis since so many of these symptoms also relate to other illnesses. If you notice one or more of these symptoms for an extended time, check with your doctor. He or she may refer you to a neurologist, a doctor whose specialty is the brain and nerve disorders. A complete history of the symptoms should be presented and such tests as an EMG (electromyography), blood tests and urine tests will probably be done.

The key to recovery is to seek help as soon as you suspect problems. Recovery time depends on how much damage has been done and if nerve damage is left untreated for a long period of time, the symptoms could become irreversible. Don't ignore the symptoms! This is your life, your future and your comfort we are talking about here. Most of us human beings have a tendency to think it's our imagination, it will get better on its own, the doctor will think I'm just a complainer, I'll mention it when I see the doctor in six months, etc. Wrong! At the risk of repeating myself, I feel that I must stress early diagnosis and treatment is important for this one. Don't let yourself have permanent nerve damage because you waited too long to admit you had a problem.