Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication in people living with diabetes. Although it might not always be possible to prevent neuropathy, certain lifestyle behaviors can help deter and manage pain and discomfort from this complication.
Diabetic neuropathy is a potential complication of diabetes. It occurs when persistently high blood sugar levels cause damage to nerves, leading to pain, tingling, and numbness in various parts of the body.
A person with diabetic neuropathy might be able to minimize their symptoms by taking some precautions and making lifestyle adjustments. They can also benefit from consulting a doctor about which options may be suitable for them.
In this article, we discuss self-care tips for diabetic neuropathy and explain when a person should consider contacting a doctor.
Diabetic neuropathy describes
- Peripheral neuropathy: This type typically affects the nerves in the legs and feet, but it may also sometimes affect those in the arms and hands. This type of neuropathy is very common, affecting
up to one-halfof people with diabetes.
- Autonomic neuropathy: This type describes damage to the nerves that control the internal organs, contributing to involuntary bodily functions. It
can leadto problems relating to the digestive system, sweat glands, sex organs, bladder, eyes, heart rate, and blood pressure. A person may also experience hypoglycemia unawareness.
- Focal neuropathy: This type usually involves damage to a
single nerve, and it is most likely to affect a nerve in the leg, torso, hand, or head. The most common focal neuropathies are entrapment syndromes, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Proximal neuropathy: This type of diabetic neuropathy
is rareand involves damage to the nerves in the thigh, buttock, or hip. The damage usually affects one side of the body, but it may spread to the other side. After the symptoms begin, they typically worsen but then improve after a period of months or years.
Preventing diabetic neuropathy entirely is not always possible, but a person can take certain steps to help alleviate the pain.
Managing blood sugar
Controlling blood sugar levels and keeping them within target ranges can
Checking the feet regularly
A person with diabetes should check their feet frequently to ensure that they spot any signs or symptoms of nerve damage or other complications of diabetes. It is also important that they
Nerve damage and poor circulation can result in many problems with the feet. In the most severe cases, a doctor may need to amputate a person’s foot if it is not receiving a sufficient supply of blood.
Following a balanced dietary plan
A healthy eating pattern is beneficial for health, and it can also help people control their blood sugar levels and maintain a moderate weight. A
Smoking can result in a wide range of health problems and increase the risk of complications, such as diabetic neuropathy. A
Massages can help stimulate blood circulation. A 2019 study suggests that massages can not only help lower glucose levels in the bloodstream but also improve symptoms of neuropathic pain. A
Avoiding prolonged pressure
Prolonged pressure can cause ligaments and tendons to swell. It is important to avoid repetitive or frequent application of
Taking warm baths
A 2020 study suggests that a warm salt water bath could be an effective option for those experiencing pain due to neuropathy. After the bath, a person should thoroughly dry their skin and apply moisturizer to keep it healthy. It is also important to ensure that a person uses
Getting good quality sleep
A person with diabetic neuropathy
Avoiding or limiting alcohol
Doctors may suggest taking some medications to help control the symptoms. Alongside medications to manage blood sugar, other options can include anticonvulsants, such as pregabalin and gabapentin, and antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and duloxetine.
A person with diabetes should contact a doctor or neurologist if a wound on their feet is not getting better or they experience symptoms of neuropathy, such as tingling, pain, or loss of sensation in the feet, weakness, or loss of balance. Usually, diagnosing diabetic neuropathy in its early stages can help limit damage to the nerves and prevent progression.
Similarly, a person with a diagnosis of neuropathy should contact a doctor if their symptoms worsen. The doctor will be able to offer advice on how to treat and manage discomfort.
Diabetic neuropathy refers to nerve damage that results from diabetes. It is a common complication of diabetes resulting from persistently high blood sugar levels.
Although the condition can cause discomfort, self-care measures can help alleviate pain. The options include controlling blood sugars, regularly checking the feet for wounds, and receiving massages.