Nerve damage is an all-too-common side effect of diabetes, causing symptoms like pain, tingling, and numbness in the feet, ankles, and hands. Managing the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can help you feel better in addition to preventing more serious complications. If you have diabetic neuropathy, try these tips to relieve your painful symptoms and improve your overall health as well.
1. Control your blood sugar
Since diabetes is caused by uncontrolled levels of blood sugar (glucose), learning to manage your blood sugar more effectively is one of the best ways to reduce and even prevent diabetic nerve damage. In fact, a study by the National Institute of Diabetic and Digestive and Kidney Diseases found that keeping your blood sugar as close to normal levels as possible can reduce the risk of nerve damage by about 60 percent. Typically, that means being aware of all the sugars you consume, including those found fruits and some vegetables. That doesn’t mean you should avoid fruits and vegetables; just be aware of the sugar content of those you eat, and opt for low-sugar varieties when possible. Try to limit the amount of red meat you consume, and load up on fiber-rich whole grains and foods known to reduce inflammation.
2. Quit smoking
Smoking damages the tiny blood vessels that provide nutrient-rich blood to the nerve fibers. When the nerves don’t get the oxygen and other nutrients they need, they can begin to atrophy (shrink). Also, when skin is deprived of the oxygen and other nutrients it needs, nerves in that area can become irritated, increasing the amount of pain you feel. Plus, diabetics who smoke are more likely to have other complications like eye, kidney, or heart disease, according to the CDC. The agency also says nicotine found in cigarettes makes insulin less effective in controlling glucose levels.
3. Take a supplement
Several studies have looked at the link between vitamins and other supplements and a decrease in neuropathy symptoms. In one study of 143 patients, researchers found high doses of vitamin D taken daily caused a “significant decrease” in painful neuropathy symptoms. In another study, a combination of B vitamins and an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) was very effective in reducing neuropathy symptoms in people with diabetes. Of course, before taking any supplement, you should talk to one of the doctors at Modern Concepts to make sure the supplement is right for your health needs.
4. Give your feet some love
The numbness and tingling from neuropathy can make it more difficult to feel injuries in your feet and toes. Try to make a daily foot check part of your routine. Look for sores, swelling, cuts, bruises, nail problems, and other issues that could use some attention. Carefully wash your feet every day and dry them thoroughly, then use a moisturizer to keep the skin soft and supple. Choose footwear that’s comfortable and lets your feet flex and move freely. Keep an eye out for blisters when you go walking or hiking, and make sure your shoes don’t rub your heels or toes. Wear slippers in the house to prevent bumps and other injuries, and get medical attention for any injury that doesn’t heal promptly.
5. Ask about interventional pain management
Sometimes, an over-the-counter pain remedy is all you need to relieve the symptoms of neuropathy. Other times, those medicines just can’t reach the deep ache or sharp, stinging pain in your feet or hands. At Modern Concepts, we use interventional pain management techniques that focus on blocking nerve signals responsible for pain. Interventional pain management can also help you be more active, which can work to relieve the anxiety and depression that often accompany moderate to severe neuropathy.
Relieve your painful neuropathy symptoms
At Modern Concepts, we help patients find solutions that work for them, using the most advanced techniques in pain management to reduce the painful symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. If you suffer from diabetic neuropathy, we'll work with you to develop a custom care plan to help you feel better and live healthier. To learn more about the solutions we offer, including interventional pain management options, book an appointment online today.