Around 60% to 70% of people with diabetes develop neuropathy (Dyck, 2013). This damage to the nerves can cause tingling in areas such as arms, legs, fingers, toes, hands, and feet.
It is common for people to have nerve pain. So, how can we take better care of ourselves to prevent or treat these conditions?
One of the most important steps is getting your blood sugar under control. This cannot be stressed enough.
Nerve damage develops over long periods of time, normally when there are high levels of blood sugar.
Therefore, it is very important that you are taking insulin and other medications at the proper times and in the proper amounts.
Also, people have found a lot of success with some forms of physical therapy to help with nerve pain. Swimming is commonly used. Steve Kim suggests low-impact exercises because they tend to be the most effective (Kim, 2016).
Diabetic nerve pain is a cause of diabetic neuropathies. This can be a sharp pain that gets worse over time (Kim, 2016).
If it goes untreated, things such as walking or small touches can become extremely painful. Therefore, it is important to control your blood sugar levels.
If you are feeling extreme nerve pain, it is best to go see your doctor about treatment strategies.
According to Kim, 10% to 20% of people with diabetes experience nerve pain (Kim, 2016). Kim states, “nerve damage can affect your ability to sleep, decrease your quality of life, and can also cause depression” (Kim, 2016).
So, how can we treat diabetic nerve pain? Doctors can’t replace the nerves. They can’t reverse the damage. But, what can they do?
There are treatments that prevent damage from continuing and relieve the pain you experience.
The most important thing is managing your blood sugar. If you currently are struggling with maintaining your blood sugar at a healthy level, talk to your doctor.
Make a plan with him or her and follow it. Learn how to check your blood sugar frequently, so you can control it.
Dieting, exercising, and taking certain medications can also help you with nerve pain. These are normally used to help you keep your body at a normal or lower range for blood sugar.
If you are overweight, try to cut 5% to 7% of your body fat. Losing weight can help you manage your blood sugar better.
Also, it is extremely important to quit smoking. Smoking can cause a lot of damage, and it makes it more difficult to control your blood sugar levels.
Your doctor might prescribe you Tylenol or ibuprofen in order to control a lot of the pain. It is suggested to take small amounts, so you can control the symptoms you are experiencing (Kim, 2016).
It is also very important that you take good care of your hands and feet. By monitoring them regularly, you will be able to notice any damage that is done. Make sure to check for cuts, bruises, calluses, and soars.
Diabetic nerve pain is a symptom of diabetic neuropathies. It can cause excruciating pain. Therefore, do your best to stay on top of it, especially by controlling your blood sugar.
Dyck, P.J. (2013). Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathies). The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/nerve-damage-diabetic-neuropathies
Kim, S. (2016). Tips for treating diabetic nerve pain. Healthline Media. Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/health/tips-treating-diabetic-nerve-pain#Overview1