Neuropathy is a medical term that refers to the malfunctioning of the nerves. People suffering from diabetes are likely to suffer from this nerve disorder if their blood sugar is not within the specified range. Uncontrolled diabetes in which blood sugar is alarmingly high can harm the nerves that are passing through the blood vessels. In most cases, the nerves running down the legs are damaged. This is a progressive disorder that does not occur immediately but may take years to develop after diabetes.
In this condition, the person experiences pain or numbness (loss of feeling) in the hands, feet and arms. Burning sensation in the toes and feet has been commonly associated with peripheral neuropathy. This condition often causes sharp pain and cramps which may lead to muscle weakness. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy treatment uses medicines to get rid of the pain.
Managing diabetes is extremely important to treat this condition. Though, this painful condition cannot be completely cured, with proper treatment the patient can lead a normal life. This condition can cause further complications if the blood glucose levels are not within the normal range. Therefore, it is essential to continue taking the prescribed diabetes medicines to keep the blood sugar levels under control. People with severe diabetes, may be advised to take insulin injections. One can use a glucose meter to check the blood sugar levels.
Medications are commonly prescribed to relieve pain, and in order to control the pain the patient may have to take different medications. Studies have shown that the following medicines are helpful for relieving pain:
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Lidocaine patches
- Topical capsaicin creams
- Painkillers like oxycodone and codeine
- Anti-seizure medications such as gabapentin and pregabalin
Daily exercise is one of the best ways to manage blood sugar levels. It is essential to remain active to avert any complications. Exercising for 30 minutes is sufficient to keep the condition under control. Before starting any exercise regime, consult your health care provider to know what exercises will be suitable to perform during this condition. Along with exercise, strictly following the diabetic diet is also very important.
In this condition, the nerves located in the feet are susceptible to damage. People suffering from this nerve damage are at a higher risk of developing foot ulcers. Many patients experience loss of sensation in their feet. Even small injuries on the feet may worsen if treatment is not taken on time. Therefore it is extremely important that the patient takes proper care of his feet by applying moisturizing lotions (capsaicin cream) on a regular basis.
In some patients who are suffering from diabetic neuropathy, health complications that may develop are urinary tract problems and digestive disorders (diarrhea or constipation). A change in diet that involves reduction in fiber and fats is beneficial to reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders. In order to get rid of urinary tract infections, the patient is asked to drink plenty of water. Sometimes, antispasmodic medications are prescribed to treat loss of bladder control (involuntary urination). In some cases, patients suffer from sexual dysfunction which can be treated by oral medications such as vardenafil (Levitra), tadalafil (Cialis), sildenafil (Viagra). For women, estrogen creams and vaginal lubricants are helpful. Another health problem that may occur is orthostatic hypertension, a condition in which the blood pressure suddenly decreases upon standing. This condition is treated with medications like fludrocortisone.
Natural Ways to Manage Diabetic Neuropathy
One does not have to depend entirely on drugs or medications to treat diabetic neuropathy. New studies have discovered some effective drug free therapies that are found to be safe to treat this condition. A recent study found out that alpha-lipoic acid, a powerful anti-oxidant present in many foodstuffs has been an effective remedy for relieving pain associated with peripheral neuropathy. Some patients have shown considerable improvement in their health by following relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and deep-breathing.
Other methods such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation that does not allow pain signals to reach the brain can also be used to treat this health complication. Benfotiamine and vitamin B12 supplements (capsules) have several health benefits and are also prescribed to treat neuropathy.
As mentioned above, diabetes not properly controlled paves way for health complications like neuropathy. Considering the adverse consequences of uncontrolled diabetes, one should religiously follow all the precautions related to diet and lifestyle. Remember, exercise and healthy diet play a crucial role to manage diabetes successfully, in turn helping to prevent neuropathy