Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is a progressive disease that often involves pain, loss of sensation and weakness. About 60-70% of diabetic patients are known to suffer from peripheral neuropathy. Above all, there is no FDA-approved treatment to cure the condition, hence the aim is to slow the progression of symptoms and relieve pain. Here are some treatments that may ease the pain and discomfort caused by DPN.
Blood sugar & blood pressure
Diabetics have high blood glucose levels and are need to manage their blood sugar levels to stay healthy and prevent any further damage to the nerves. Hence maintaining a healthy blood glucose levels can slow the progression of the disease. The American Diabetes Association recommends diabetics to maintain values between 80-130 mg/dL before meals and less than 180 mg/dL around 2 hours after meals. Diabetics often have a higher blood pressure and are recommended to maintain their values below 130/80 mm/hg.
Since there is no cure for DPN, the current medications at best mitigate pain. Many prescriptions include antidepressants that relieve neuropathic pain. For instance, tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline, desipramine (Norpramin) and imipramine (Tofranil) target mild to moderate nerve pain. Capsaicin creams also help with managing nerve pain. Different drugs work for different patients based on their underlying conditions and hence consult your physician to find something that works for you.
Diet & vitamins
Patients can stay fit and healthy by eating a balanced diet along with the right vitamins. DPN patients should consume fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition some patients try ketogenic diets and low carb diets to manage their symptoms. Lower amounts of vitamin B12 can cause nerve damage while vitamin D can reduce nerve pain. Hence, DPN patients are also recommended vitamins B and D.
DPN patients can stay healthy and control their pain by regularly exercising. For instance, exercise can lower blood sugar and maintain good blood flow which in turn relieves pain and stress.
Acupuncture is an alternate method diabetic patients use with peripheral neuropathy symptoms. To summarize this process involves stimulating the body’s pressure points and promoting healing. Moreover, it relieves chronic pain and eases the flow of blood through the nerves. It is advised to work with a licensed professional and consult your physician to see if acupuncture can benefit you.
Patients use various meditation and breathing techniques to deal with DPN. Living with neuropathy and chronic pain can be exhausting, both physically and mentally, hence relaxation techniques provide patients a non-invasive approach to reduce stress and handle pain.
Your physician can recommend various treatments depending on your condition to help you ease your symptoms. Consult your physician if you notice the slightest change in your symptoms. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy can be challenging, but with early diagnosis and proper treatment plan, you can effectively manage your pain.
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- “Types of Peripheral Neuropathy & Risk Factors”. The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy
- “Blood Sugar Levels: How Glucose Levels Affect Your Body”. WebMD
- “Diabetic neuropathy – Diagnosis and treatment”. Mayo Clinic
- “High blood pressure”. Diabetes Canada
- “Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy: 11 Ways to Ease the Pain”. WebMD
- “Acupuncture for Neuropathy: Benefits and Risks”. HealthLine