Diabetes and the nervous system...the final attack and triumph for this dreaded disease? di.

By nzingha Latest Reply 2011-07-03 14:47:13 -0500
Started 2011-07-01 05:15:46 -0500

Is there any truth to the fact that once the diabetes touches the nervous system in your body ( nerves that control movements, strength in your legs, hands etc ) then there is nothing which can be done to stop it no matter how you control your numbers etc? No excercise, no amount of insulin..this is it?

20 replies

digitaldoorbell 2011-07-03 12:08:10 -0500 Report

Your question is difficult. You ask "any truth to the fact…" Based on my understanding, and the information from my neurologist, with very good control you can stop it from progressing but never reverse it. I have neuropathy and can tell you it's at least as bad as you read here. Try the best that you can to take care of yourself all the time.

nzingha 2011-07-03 12:36:26 -0500 Report

so r u suggesting that for the rest of my life my legs r going to have this weak feeling everyday that i awake? it wont stop or go away..?

digitaldoorbell 2011-07-03 14:47:13 -0500 Report

First of all, I'm not a doctor so I am basing my opinion on nearly non-stop studying and the advice of a neurologist. You're still adjusting to what appears to be a diagnosis that is upsetting. There are medications that are available. Some help. All, every single one have side effects. If you have neuropathy, with the exception of some relief from medication, it is highly probable that your pain will be the same. I hope that it doesn't get worse, but that is a decided possibility too. Worrying won't help you. Taking action will. Talk to your doctor, try meds. Some people use r-alpha lipoic acid from drug stores or health food stores. You have to start accepting the possibility that you have this. If you don't trust your doctor, get a second opinion. Good luck

NavyNerd 2011-07-02 00:05:47 -0500 Report

I have trouble with nerve issues, and have had some heavy duty surgeries.. even though my numbers are not all in line yet, the nerves have regenerated (I had a breast surgery which leaves many with no sensation, and even after a necrotic tissue issue, the nerves have grown back for full function, despite teh diabetes issues. The better my suagrs get, the better my healing, even after years where we had no effective therapy- the diets, teh orals, and teh initial couple insulins didn't work so my sugars were over 300 daily for years. And I am coming back from it, slowly, but getting there. I have faith in my own healing that getting my sugars in line means that I can keep other things headed in a better direction too.. dunno if that helps, because my feet are fine (no neuropathy) and my hands have nerve issues but its a residual spinal issue, so not diabetes related.

nzingha 2011-07-02 06:46:17 -0500 Report

I wish u well with ur healing…I am glad therte is no pain I am not good at bearing it… that would just drive me crazy but this constant feeling of nervousness and weakness in my feet are irritating to say the least… but I contrinue to fight it..have a good day…Iam off to the mineral bath that they say has healing powers… I do that on sat mornings and when I get home my limbs are totally relaxed and I get a good nap before getting busy ..

jayabee52 2011-07-01 07:58:00 -0500 Report

howdy nzingha!
I am affected by diabetic neuropathy. I experience a "burning' - like pain from my knees to my toes, and a tingling sensation from my elbows to my fingertips and also in other areas of my body. Would this qualify as diebetes touching my nervous system? I think so, myself.

The best way to deal with diabetic neuropathy is to control ones Blood Glucose at "normal" ranges. It will either delay it's onset or prevent it from striking. But if one has it, the best way to control it, is to keep our BG levels under tight control.

I have read where people have reduced or eliminated the pain of peripheral neuropathy by keeping their BG numbers in the normal range for a long time.
It seems to take nerves a long time to regenerate themselves after an injury. Sometimes up to 5 years.

There are prescription meds which are taken for neuropathy pain. One of the standards is Neurontin/Gabepentin. I have read of cymbalts used in this manner and also other antidepressants. I am currently on Nortryptelene.

Some try over the counter remedies such as Alpha Lipolic Acid, ( I take this also) and other substances.

Perhaps it is wishful thinking on my part, but I seem to notice a diminution of my daily pain level with regards to the burning of the neuropathy. I used to rate it (on the 10 point scale commonly used) a level 6 in intensity. Now it seems to be more of a 5 or even a 4 at times.

So it may not be permanent. I pray it is not!


DawnaD 2011-07-02 14:08:42 -0500 Report

I am affected by periferal neuropathy, not diagnosed cannot afford to go to Doctor but I know in my heart that that is what I have. About 2 years ago I noticed my toe next to my big toe on my right foot had turned real dark and swollen and I could not bend it at all. I was scared to have it checked out because I did not want to hear anything about cutting off my toe. After waiting it out with no medication but it still will not bend. I started out with Actos, Amaryll, and Glucophage, but they would not break down in my body, they started me on Lantus and it worked for a while ,I was changed to Novolin N and Novolin R for about 2 years and my blood glucose level was averaging in the 200's. I was taking 5 shots a day, my numbers stayed over 300 for about 2 and a half years. My problem now is the non-stop tingling and sometime numbness in my toes and at night my calfs cramp like crazy. I do not know what else to do , I can't afford to go to a Doctor and I am scared of keeping on making bills at the emergency room. So maybe it will not progress into my having to lose any of my extremities. I pray for the best. Dawna

jayabee52 2011-07-02 14:35:10 -0500 Report

Howdy Dawna
With being a person with diabetes, I ask you, can you afford NOT to go to the Dr? Sometimes the things we DON'T want to hear are the things we may NEED to hear, especially when life and limb is at stake. And wouldn't it be better for you to lose a toe than to lose a leg? Take care of the little things before they become something bigger and more costly.

I did something like that in the time before I was first Dx'd. I was quite sure I had diabetes, but didn't have the money to take care of it. I sacrificed my health for my little family's financial health. But there are other ways to get care for one's diabetes. But they don't come looking for you, you have to seek them out.

Sounds like your peripheral neuropathy is fairly advanced. That's not good.

Your mention of calves cramping worries me for you too. It could be a symptom of something else, but it is one of the symptoms of kidney disease too. I have kidney disease and I have had cramps in my calves which have awakened me out of a dead sleep. People with Diabetes are more likely to get kidney disease. A little more than 50% of people on hemodialysis have diabetes.

So Dawna, Pray for the best, to be sure, but take action too.


Praying for YOUR best!

nzingha 2011-07-02 14:26:07 -0500 Report

wow that sounds serious…this is not whats affecting me.. its the nerves that control ur nervous feelings…the ones that make u feel that weakness in ur legs like u r scaredof going on stage to perform…maybe its not even conncted to the diabetes but i tthink it is.. cause it acts up when the #s r high…

nzingha 2011-07-01 08:44:54 -0500 Report

Its not pain or painful… its a weak, nervous feeling in the legs.. or is this not caused from the diabetis.. ? I wonder. The docs says it is and once the sugar comes under better control.. it will go away. So i keep excercising, walking swimming, even walk with weights.. I dont know.. the feeling continues and it makes me miserable.. so there is no pain thank God.. I couldnt get up to pain.. I just get up to weakness in the mornings in my legs..like i am about to topple over or may not be able to stand up for too long. But I fight the feeling . All my blood tests come back normal..no lacing in vitamins, especially B 12. I am to do some more blood tests. We will see. thnks for your response.

jayabee52 2011-07-01 09:21:24 -0500 Report

Glad it's not painful! I have heard of the tingly kind where your leg/foot feels like its going to "sleep" and I have heard of the completely numb kind where you don't feel anything in your foot/leg. I think that is the most dangerous kind, because you can get injured and not know it, and a toe goes gangrenous and needs to be amputated, or a pressure ulcer develops and may also necessitate amputation of the foot. In any event we PWDs NEED to take our shoes off and examine our feet for changes EVERY night, using a mirror if we need to. Also take our shoes and socks off EVERY Dr visit to have them check our feet too.

I also feel I am often about to topple over too. But I attribute that to 3 ministrokes ("TIAs") I had in 2005 which affected my balance. I feel like I am walking on a bed with a mattress and box springs. It doesn't feel solid under my feet, even though the floor IS solid. I fight the feeling by going dancing, which helps me with my balance. It is kinda unofficial physical therapy, and its fun too! I can even "forget" my burning neuropathy pain I am having so much fun.

nzingha 2011-07-01 09:48:14 -0500 Report

nooo… i am probably still not explaining it.. I have all the feelings.. no tingling or numbness.. my toes and foot bottom are very sensitive. i did the circulation test too and it was very strong.. its a weakness in my legs that make me feel like my legs cant stand for 2 long… the kinna nervous feeling u get in ur legs when u get stage fright ( u know when u r about to face a hugh crowd.. nervousness…) its just very discomforting

eristar 2011-07-02 07:03:09 -0500 Report

I have the numbness and tingling in my legs, BUT - I also had the weakness, to the point where I was falling a lot, and had to use a wheelchair or walker everywhere. I have been taking PT for a year now, and - yay! - can walk unassisted or only using a cane at last, and while the tingling sensations are still there, they do seem to be diminishing. (Also taking Gabapentin for that, and Cymbalta for depression, although that is another med prescribed for nerve pain.) Hang in there - things can, and probably will, get better! BTW, your avatar sure looks like my cockatiel "Hawkeye"!)

nzingha 2011-07-02 10:19:25 -0500 Report

WELL THNK gOD i HAVEN'T BEEN FALLING.. i REFUSE TO.. i JUST CAME BACK FROM SWIMMING AT THE MINERAL BATH.. THEY SAY IT HAS HEALING minerals…i FEEL so relaxed now.. have to get a nap..oops sorry about the caps…I dont get depressed ..just have problems sleeping but then I put on music and it also relaxes me… or I read. Got a kindle and am going to make good use of it!

eristar 2011-07-03 06:30:05 -0500 Report

Well, the depression began long before I was diagnosed with T2 - runs in my family big time. :( It's been well under control for a couple of years, now, though. And I have a Kindle, too - LOVE it!

jayabee52 2011-07-01 09:56:34 -0500 Report

Sorry I didn't get it before but think I understand now. I have nothing to which I can compare your expereince. I have no suggestions I can make. Sorry!

nzingha 2011-07-01 10:40:08 -0500 Report

The doc had said the cells that take the oxygen to the nerves were blocked so once the sugar gets sorted.. they should open up again…almost as if u can't breath.. so I am working on getting the numbers down . I think my insulin dosages are too small because the readings peak in the days and r really down in the mornings and evenings.. I am eating small portions but I think I need to increase the intake of insulin. I'll hear what she says next week.. this disease just has me very confused..sometimes I feel high when i eat … I've never had it act up so since I've had it for 10 years now.. ah well.. its not going to control me…lol!

jayabee52 2011-07-01 10:56:14 -0500 Report

But I understand that these damaged nerves can take up to 5 years to fully heal.

Yes this condition can be very confusing and irritating.

I'm glad you're determined not to let Diabetes win!

nzingha 2011-07-01 12:22:46 -0500 Report

No..its not going to..Im not making it..I swim, I walk and I excerciise .. 3 days swimming and walking almost everyday.. I wont make it take no 5 years…! dont have that time to waste…:)