Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder that is triggered as a side effect of diabetes. This condition can spread throughout the body, though at first individuals may have no symptoms. Eventually symptoms such as numbness, tingling or pain may appear, often in the hands and feet, but sex organs, digestive tract and heart can experience this type of nerve damage as well.
Causes of Diabetic Neuropathy
There are a variety of factors which can play into the development of diabetic neuropathy. Understanding these risks can help individuals find adequate treatment. Damage to the blood vessels responsible for carrying nutrients to the nerves, high blood glucose, a long duration of diabetes, high blood fat levels and low levels of insulin all increase your risk of developing neuropathy. Inflammation of the nerves, alcohol use, smoking and some inherited traits that contribute to nerve damage can also increase this condition.
Top Treatments of Diabetic Neuropathy
The first goal of any treatment plan should be to return blood glucose levels to a normal range. This is essential to prevent any further nerve damage.
- Exercise is commonly recommended for those that are starting to experience symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. This can help to maintain glucose levels while strengthening blood flow that can help to pass nutrients to this part of the body.
- Proper diet is also essential to maintaining proper glucose levels. Monitoring glucose levels after meals can help to determine if your eating habits are contributing to your condition. Avoiding sugary foods and consuming regular small meals can help to keep glucose levels steady to prevent damage to the nerves.
- Medications can be used to help reduce the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. This may include opioids, antidepressants or anticonvulsants as necessary to reduce symptoms. Specifically, pregabalin and duloxetine are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to manage the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
- In some cases diabetic neuropathy may affect the skin, particularly on the feet. Creams can be applied to these areas as a means of controlling the symptoms. Lidopain or Lidoderm can be applied to the feet as a means of relieving pain in these areas. Antioxidants such as lipoic acid or evening primrose oil can be applied to these areas to help reduce symptoms.
- If the body is sensitive to touch due to the nerve damage that has occurred, it may be necessary to engage in physical therapy. Acupuncture, magnetic or electrical nerve therapies have been found to be helpful in stimulating the nerves to return the normal sensations to areas that have been damaged by diabetic neuropathy. A bed cradle can also be worn at night to keep the blankets off of legs that are sensitive due to nerve damage.
Regardless of what type of therapy is used for diabetic neuropathy it is essential that you check in with your neuropathy doctor regularly. This will help to ensure that you can keep on top of your disease and make any necessary changes to prevent further damage to areas that are suffering the symptoms of this condition.
Dr. Richard Jacoby at the Scottsdale Neuropathy Institute is an expert in diabetic neuropathy treatment. This includes medications, laser treatment, stem cell therapy and the Dellon Decompression Surgery. Patients come from all over the Southwest to see Dr. Jacoby due to his expertise and hefty success rates.
Call (480) 994-5977 today for more information and scheduling!