Diabetic Neuropathy and Nephropathy

November 13 2017 at 01:46 AM by Vamakshi Saklani

Diabetes mellitus is a heterogeneous group of diseases characterized by chronic elevation of glucose in the blood. It arises because the body is unable to produce enough insulin for its own needs, either because of impaired insulin secretion, impaired insulin action, or both. The prevalence of diabetes is rapidly increasing all over the world. The diabetic population is increasing due to population growth, stress, food habits, obesity and decreased physical activity. India leads the world with the largest number of diabetic individuals and is termed the “diabetes capital of the world”. According to the Diabetes Atlas 2006 published by the International Diabetes Federation, the number of people with diabetes in India currently is around 40.9 million and it may rise to 69.9 million by 2025 if preventive measures are not taken.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Neuropathy (or diffuse neuropathy) is a nerve disorder which may be categorised as sensory neuropathy, motor neuropathy or autonomic neuropathy.Neuropathy can be caused by both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.It may be further categorised as follows -

§  Sensory Neuropathy - It occurs when nerves which detect touch and temperature are damaged. This form of neuropathy commonly affects the feet and hands.

§  Motor Neuropathy -It results from damage to the nerves affecting muscle movement.

§  Autonomic Neuropathy - It follows if the nerves which control involuntary actions, such as digestion or heart rate are affected.

Over time, people with diabetes who do not control their condition, may develop damage to the nerves around the body.

Causes of Neuropathy

A few of the basic causal factors of diabetic neuropathy include -

High blood pressure


Alcohol consumption

Chronic liver or kidney disease

Vitamin B deficiency

Diabetic Nephropathy

Nephropathy means kidney disease or damage. Diabetic nephropathy is damage to one’s kidneys caused by diabetes. In severe cases it can lead to kidney failure. Certain conditions make one more likely to get diabetic nephropathy. Having high blood pressure or high cholesterol or smoking can increase the risk of diabetic nephropathy.

Symptoms of Nephropathy

  • Diabetic nephropathy are characterized by the following symptoms -
  • Worsening blood pressure control
  • Protein in the urine
  • Swelling of feet, ankles, hands or eyes
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Persistent itching

In order to avoid the consequences and health impacts of diabetic neuropathy and nephropathy, the patients suffering from diabetes need to take early precautions and measures to stay away from a plethora of health impairments linked to this lifestyle disease. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and timely treatment helps ensure an overall sound recovery process.