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A Guide to Understanding Neuropathy and Diabetes

What is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy commonly referred to as nerve damage, is one of the most prevalent conditions associated with diabetes. The nervous system uses neurons to send signals throughout the body, allowing you to feel pain and other sensations.

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However, when these nerves are damaged, it makes it difficult to do tasks that you once viewed as second nature – such as controlling muscles. Additionally, these damaged nerves can result in a multitude of side effects including weakness, difficulty balancing, numbness, and trouble pursuing certain bodily functions. 

This form of neuropathy is known as diabetic neuropathy which most often appears with nerve damage in the feet and legs. Those that are suffering from diabetes, many find themselves managing neuropathy systems such as numbness, reduced ability to feel pain or temperature shifts, tingling or burning sensations, sharp pangs, cramps or infections, ulcers, or bone and joint pain. 

How is Neuropathy Related to Diabetes?

If an individual’s blood sugar is too high, it can lead to nerve damage which may prevent the nerves from sending signals to the rest of the body. Although this condition is debilitating, it is important to understand that nerve damage is one of the most common side effects associated with diabetes. In fact, of all people who have been diagnosed with diabetes, more than half of them also suffer from some form of nerve damage.

While nerve damage is irreversible, it is completely possible to be controlled. To prevent the symptoms of neuropathy from worsening, patients can make small lifestyle changes to improve both their overall health and stabilize their blood sugar. 

How Can I Lower My Blood Sugar?

Taking the necessary steps to lower your blood sugar is one of the best decisions diabetic individuals can make. Not only can this help to regulate your blood sugar and prevent it from rising, but making these changes can also improve your overall health. 

  • Exercise Regularly

Sticking to a consistent exercise routine is one of the best ways to lower your blood sugar. When you exercise, it will increase your heart rate which uses additional sugars that have been stored in your muscles and liver, which takes sugar from your blood, ultimately resulting in lower blood sugar. Before committing to an intense exercise regime, it is important to consult with your doctor and ensure that you are in proper physical health. 

  • Healthy Eating

Nutrition is an essential part of stabilizing blood sugar. One of the best changes you can make to your diet is limiting your carbohydrate intake. Rather than unnecessary carbohydrates, sticking to healthy ones such as whole grains and fruits can improve your nutrition and could help in preventing nerve damage from worsening. 

  • Drink More Water

Drinking the correct amount of water throughout the day is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. By staying hydrated, you can prevent inflammation and avoid triggering pain receptors. In addition to preventing nerve damage, drinking a healthy amount of water can have other positive effects on the body including your memory, focus, and attention. 

  • Manage Stress Levels

Keeping stress levels low, and relying on a method to unwind from stressful situations will help manage blood sugar levels. As a result of chronic stress, the body releases more cortisol, the primary hormone involved in stress. A higher serum cortisol level causes the body to decrease insulin secretion. This means sugar will remain in the bloodstream and blood sugar levels will be unbalanced. Instead, it’s important to manage stress levels by planning, tackling goals by breaking them into smaller steps and incorporating meditation, yoga, or journaling as a form of stress management.

  • Get More Sleep

Insufficient amounts of sleep can impair glucose levels for those managing diabetes. Bad sleep hygiene can be an indication of high blood sugar, so it’s important to devise a consistent sleep schedule, meaning going to bed at the same time every night, and waking up at the same time to develop a steady internal rhythm for the body. Keeping your sleeping space cool, avoiding screens at least an hour before bedtime, and avoiding caffeine at night are great ways to promote healthy sleep. 

  • When to See an Expert

It’s time to call your see an expert if you notice that a sore or cut on your legs or feet looks infected or if the cut isn’t healing. Consult a specialist if you are experiencing numbness, tingling, or burning that is persisting with no positive results from self-management, or if you are experiencing pain in your hands or feet that will not subside if you cannot sleep due to pain.

  • Integrated Pain Management Can Help 

Managing your diabetic neuropathy yourself, along with professional help is the key to finding relief. If you are ready to take the next step for treatment, reduce your pain, muscle weakness, and begin leading a healthier lifestyle, Integrated Pain Management can help. 

Our mission here at Integrated Pain Management is to provide effective treatment and prevention of a multitude of conditions by assessing your symptoms and designing an individual plan based on your needs.

At our facility, all of our doctors are certified professionals at the top of their field, passionate about treating patients and getting to the root cause of their problems. Connect with Integrated Pain Management today and receive the help you deserve. 

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