By Briana Davis, Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc.
SAN ANTONIO - Diabetes affects an estimated 25.8 million people in the U.S. alone, and of those affected, nearly 60% to 70% will eventually develop diabetic peripheral neuropathy
. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy, otherwise known as DPN, is a progressive disease characterized primarily by initial pain and tingling in the feet, followed by a loss of sensation, as well as pain or weakness, in the feet or hands.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy typically develops due to chronically high blood sugar (glucose) levels, though it is possible for patients with excellent glucose levels to develop the disease. Other factors such as nerve inflammation, genetic predisposition, kidney disease, tobacco use or alcohol abuse may contribute to its development.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy slowly develops and progresses over time – causing damage to the peripheral nerve fibers. Each peripheral nerve serves a very specialized function within the body. Because of this, significant nerve damage can result in a wide range of physical symptoms.
The feet and the legs are often affected first by peripheral neuropathy, followed by the hands and arms. Symptoms may include numbness or tingling, pain or discomfort, muscle weakness or loss of muscle tone, loss of balance, and serious foot problems, such as infections, deformities or ulcers.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is usually diagnosed through a combination of symptoms, medical history and a physical assessment of tendon refluxes, sensitivity to touch, temperature and vibration, muscle strength and tone. Additional tests may be conducted to confirm a diagnosis and rule out other potential conditions.
There is no known cure for diabetic peripheral neuropathy, but it can be effectively managed through a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. Adequately controlling glucose levels is key to minimizing symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease. Your physician may recommend a series of diet and exercise modifications, as well as prescribe pain relief medication.
If left untreated, diabetic peripheral neuropathy can result in a number of severe complications such as amputation, joint pain, swelling or deformities, low blood pressure, urinary incontinence, digestive problems, sexual dysfunction, and a loss of mobility.
Clinical Trials of Texas, Inc. is currently conducting a research study for men and women who have been exhibiting symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy for at least one year. If you would like to learn more about our study regarding diabetic peripheral neuropathy, please call us at 210-949-0122 or visit our website at SAresearch.com
. A stipend to cover the cost of time and travel is being offered to study participants.