Have you heard the terms diabetic neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy but are not sure if they mean the same thing or not? If so, this article is for you!
When it comes to understanding medical conditions like neuropathy, having a basic comprehension of the specifics of the disease is essential for getting the best possible care for your needs. While it is incredibly common for people to use the terms diabetic neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy interchangeably, there are actually differences between these two conditions, and that is what we will explore in this article. Read on to learn about these two different types of neuropathy in more detail, including their similarities, differences, and what to expect when treating each condition.
Here is everything we want you to know about the difference between diabetic neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy.
Is diabetic neuropathy the same as peripheral neuropathy?
To better understand the difference between these two conditions, we first must explore what makes them similar. Both defined as a type of neuropathy, patients diagnosed with either of these conditions will experience symptoms related to the sensory function (our ability to feel our surroundings) in the impacted area. Depending on the extent of nerve damage and the stage of disease progression, the symptoms and level of pain associated with diabetic and peripheral neuropathy can range from a mild inconvenience to completely debilitating. Additionally, because of their similar underlying pathology, both conditions are challenging to treat once they progress past their early stages.
Understanding the difference between diabetic neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy
While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are specific differences that make them separate from each other.
Peripheral neuropathy is a medical condition that impacts the sensory function of the extremities, which are our hands, arms, feet, ankles, and legs. Caused by various conditions ranging from physical trauma, exposure to hazardous chemicals, cardiovascular disease, and several other factors, peripheral neuropathy is a blanket term often used to describe any sensory deficits experienced in the limbs.
Alternatively, diabetic neuropathy refers to sensory deficits caused specifically by uncontrolled diabetes. Affecting both men and women equally, chronic exposure to high glucose levels in the blood is believed to be the cause of permanent damage to the peripheral nerves in the feet and lower extremities, resulting in the development of numbness, tingling, and pain.
How to treat diabetic and peripheral neuropathy
While the symptoms of both conditions are very similar, treatment for each type of neuropathy will differ significantly depending on a patient’s specific diagnosis. A proper treatment plan, designed with your primary healthcare provider, will target the underlying cause of the disease and be best suited for preventing it from worsening.
There are, however, some treatment options that benefit both conditions. These include:
- Eating a balanced and nutritious diet
- Partaking in regular low impact exercise
- Using mobility aids for increased safety
- Integrating foot care into your daily routine
- Wearing non-binding diabetic socks for additional support
The bottom line
So, now that you understand the difference between diabetic neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy, you can use the correct terminology when you refer to your condition to ensure that you receive the best possible care for your needs. We hope this information has provided you with some helpful insight into the key differences between both conditions.
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