Diabetes is a common condition affecting about one in every three adults in the United States. Diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage due to diabetes is one of the most common complications that develop due to high blood sugar levels. Damage can occur to the nerves controlling functions such as blood rate, digestion or heart rate or in specific areas of the body such as the legs, feet or eyes. Depending on the specific affected nerves, symptoms of this condition can range from pain, numbness or tingling sensation in your feet or lower legs to problems with digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart. Some people may experience mild symptoms, but for others the condition can be quiet painful and disabling. Multispecialty healthcare and pain management centers in Brooklyn, NYC offer effective treatment options for the condition that focus on minimizing the symptoms, restoring function to the affected areas so that you can better manage your day-to-day activities. The ultimate goal of the treatment is to ensure that the neuropathic condition does not significantly affect the quality of life of the patient.
As there are different types of neuropathy, the exact cause of this condition is most likely to differ for each type of neuropathy. High blood sugar levels weaken the walls of the small blood vessels (capillaries) that supply the nerves with oxygen and nutrients. A combination of factors may lead to nerve damage, including damage to the blood vessels, mechanical injury, (such as injuries caused by carpal tunnel syndrome), inflammation in the nerves, low levels of vitamin B-12 (through medications) and lifestyle factors such as smoking or alcohol use.
Keep Blood Sugar Levels under Control
The nerve damage caused diabetic neuropathy is irreversible. However, there are several lifestyle changes, therapies and medications that can help lessen symptoms and prevent further nerve damage. Here are some natural remedies for effectively managing diabetic neuropathy:
- Manage Blood Sugar Level – Lowering or stabilizing blood sugar levels is the first line of treatment recommended for diabetic neuropathy. Maintaining blood sugar consistently within a healthy range can reduce the chances of nerve damage by 50 percent, before any severe complications develop. A combination of activities like frequent blood glucose testing, diet planning, regular intake of medications (whether using insulin or metformin), and daily physical activity can ensure this.
- Follow a Healthy Diet – Food habits have a direct impact on your blood sugar level, and it is therefore important to follow a healthy diet to manage diabetes and its complications. Avoid intake of refined carbs, added sugars and sugary drinks to help stabilize blood sugar. As part of your diabetic diet plan, eat plenty high-fiber foods that are packed with nutrients but low in sugar/artificial ingredients including vegetables and whole fruits (high in antioxidants, fiber and vitamins), Omega-3 fatty acids, and other healthy and lean protein foods. Avoiding high refined or processed sugars (such as high glucose or artificial sweeteners) will directly help in proper blood sugar management and preventing further nerve damage.
- Regular Exercise – Regular exercise keep blood sugars steady, helps maintain healthy weight, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure symptoms, increases muscle strength, and improves range of motion. Engage in low-impact exercises like walking, swimming or cycling for at least 30-60 minutes daily. This will make your body respond to insulin better and reduce blood glucose, possibly even to a point where you can take less medications. Exercise will also help protect the nerves by improving blood circulation and lowering stress(which can raise your glucose levels and increase inflammation).
- Reduce alcohol consumption – Alcohol can cause increase in blood sugar levels, often counteracting medications consumed.
- Quit smoking – Smoking is a habit that is very difficult to break. Diabetic patients who happen to use tobacco in any form have more chances of suffering nerve damage and even a heart attack or stroke than diabetic non-smokers. Smoking cessation programs in Brooklyn, NYC based healthcare and rehabilitation centersare designed to provide a permanent solution to nicotine cravings.
- Professionally performed therapies – Several types of therapies are available to help lessen neuropathy related pain and improve blood flow. These include physical therapy and chiropractor adjustments. Physical therapy exercises improve blood circulation in the body, strengthen the foot and leg muscles, and ease nerve pain. Moderate-intensity exercises like strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises help prevent complications due to diabetic neuropathy. If the leg or foot muscles have been affected, physical therapy can strengthen them again and restore balance and sensation, enabling the person to walk normally. Chiropractic adjustment can correct misalignments in the spine and address nerve pain symptoms by enhancing communication among the components of the central nervous system.
Medications are also prescribed to bring down the intensity of pain symptoms and to enable the nerves to repair themselves. Typically, these medicines include – narcotic pain drugs, tricyclic antidepressants as well as opioid drugs.
Prevent Nerve Damage Early
Diabetic neuropathy can cause several life threatening complications like amputations of the limbs, joint deformities, frequent infections, damage to blood vessels, blurred vision and vision loss/blindness and more. Treatment in a professional multispecialty healthcare center can help keep your blood sugar levels under control and prevent nerve damage from jeopardizing your life.