What is Neuropathy of the Feet and Legs – Tingling, loss of sensation, pain, burning or prickling sensation, numbness and weakness in the legs and/or feet are the main symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, one of the most common complications in patients diagnosed with diabetes. “This disease affects the lower limbs in several ways,” says Dr. Marcio Miyamotto, vascular and endovascular surgeon.
This is because diabetes causes injury to the nerves of the legs, which can lead to the structural deformity of the feet, which changes the way the individual walks. “The consequences of these deformations are reflected in the appearance of callosities in places of greater pressure and, ultimately, in wounds that are difficult to heal. That’s where the experts come in, “explains Miyamotto.
In Curitiba, there are multidisciplinary services specialized in the care and prevention of complications related to diabetes. One of them is the Curitiba Diabetes Center, which operates at Nossa Senhora das Graças Hospital. “The place allows the integration between the various professionals involved in this great therapeutic challenge, with the aim of preserving the health and life of the patients”, emphasizes the specialist.
In addition to peripheral nerve damage, diabetes can also cause circulatory changes. People who have suffered from the disease for many years tend to have poorer leg circulation due to the “clogging” of vessels that nourish the tissues of the lower limbs. “This ‘lack of circulation’ can lead, in early stages, to pain on walking, which can progress to intense pain, even at rest,” adds the doctor.
In situations where the lack of blood in the extremities is severe, tissue death may occur. At this stage, the risk of amputation is considerably high. “Smoking patients, hypertensive and with high cholesterol levels can further aggravate this circulatory condition,” says Dr. Miyamotto.
Infection is a major cause of amputation related to peripheral neuropathy. “People with diabetes have very low resistance to infections. Problems that would be easily treated in common patients represent a risk to the life of the diabetic, “emphasizes the specialist.
The risk is even greater when the patient simultaneously develops diabetes, lack of circulation and infection. In such cases, a rapid and effective multidisciplinary approach is necessary to avoid amputation, a complication for other members, or even death from generalized infection. “They must participate in the endocrinologist team, vascular surgeon, orthopedic surgeon specialized in feet, infectologist and nursing professionals specialized in high technology dressings,” explains Miyamotto.