Understanding Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a condition that affects as many as 50% of people with diabetes. To reduce your risk for both diabetes and its side effects, OakBend Medical Group offers resources to help you lose weight, including different types of bariatric surgery.

An overview of diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body processes the sugar you get from your diet into the energy you need to function. There are several types of diabetes including:

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a condition where your body doesn’t produce insulin, a hormone that converts sugar to energy. As a result, your blood sugar levels remain high enough to cause damage to your blood vessels and eventually your nerves. This nerve damage is known as diabetic neuropathy.

Type 1 diabetes is a type of autoimmune disorder that often develops in childhood but can also occur in adults.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it can’t use the insulin it does make to properly control your blood sugar levels.

Your risk for type 2 diabetes is increased because of your lifestyle. A poor diet, lack of exercise, and obesity all contribute to your risk for diabetes.

Prediabetes

Prediabetes is a condition where your blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be considered diabetes. If you have prediabetes, your risk for type 2 diabetes increases.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes describes abnormally high blood sugar levels in pregnant women. This type of diabetes generally resolves after childbirth but can increase a woman’s risk for type 2 diabetes.

The long-term effects of diabetic neuropathy

When your blood sugar levels remain too high for too long, it can lead to permanent nerve damage. Nerve damage starts gradually and can cause a variety of symptoms that affect any part of your body, especially your legs and feet.

As diabetes damages your nerves, you might experience:

Your feet might develop ulcers that go unnoticed because of the lack of nerve sensations. This can lead to open wounds that are slow to heal and become infected. Some people with diabetic ulcers that remain untreated face a future of tissue death and the need for amputation.

Uncontrolled diabetes can also increase your risk for permanent nerve damage in your eyes that leads to permanent vision loss and blindness.

Progressive nerve damage from diabetes can also cause issues with bowel and bladder control.

How bariatric surgery can reduce your risk for diabetes complications

Being overweight can make it more difficult for you to get your diabetes under control. Obesity also increases your risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the first place.

To lower your risk for diabetes and related complications, weight loss is often the first recommendation you will receive from your doctor. Losing just a small percentage of weight can dramatically reduce your diabetes risk factors, as well as your risk for other serious health issues, including diabetic neuropathy, kidney failure, and stroke.

If you’re not able to lose weight with diet changes and exercise, our team at OakBend Medical Group can determine if you’re a candidate for weight loss surgery. We offer procedures like gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass surgery, and gastric balloon surgery, to help you lose weight rapidly but safely.

Find out if you’re a candidate for bariatric surgery to reduce your risk for diabetic neuropathy by calling OakBend Medical Group or by booking a consultation online today. 

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