Look Into Topical Treatments And Medications
Topical treatments can help relieve diabetic leg pain with few side effects or drug interactions. Consider using lidocaine patches and capsaicin cream to alleviate your pain.
Although opioids are not suggested for diabetic leg pain, over-the-counter pain relievers may provide relief when pain flares up. Other medications to treat this type of chronic pain may include tricyclic antidepressants.
Treatment Of Focal Diabetic Neuropathy
It is often seen that doctors usually prescribe the same treatments or medicines as they do for patients with peripheral neuropathies. Patients with trapped nerves are suggested to wear a splint or brace that can take the pressure off from the nerve, and also some medicines. If the condition gets worsened, doctors may tell you to go for surgery also.
And those focal neuropathies with untrapped nerves get recovered within a few weeks or months, without treatment.
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You should know that insulin can help you manage your diabetes and prevent further damage to your kidneys. If youre suffering from diabetes, its important to consult a doctor to make sure that youre a good candidate for the condition. If youre looking for more information, you can read about the various types of diabetes available, as well as how to get a free online health assessment. In many cases, its possible to avoid a doctors visit by doing simple exercises. If youre not familiar with the signs and symptoms of diabetes, you can read online articles about the condition and learn about its treatment.
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What Are The Best Medications For Diabetic Neuropathy
The pain of diabetic neuropathy can sometimes be managed with certain medications. Certain prescription antidepressants and antiseizure medications have been shown to be effective in relieving pain that originates in the nerves.
- Duloxetine is an antidepressant that can relieve the pain of diabetic neuropathy in some people. The tricyclic antidepressant drugs, including nortriptyline and desipramine , have also been used for this purpose.
- Anti-seizure drugs such as gabapentin , carbamazepine , and pregabalin are drugs that can also work to relieve pain in people with diabetic neuropathy.
In severe cases, opioid analgesic medications may be needed.
Other kinds of treatment for nerve pain include patches containing the topical anesthetic agent lidocaine. Capsaicin cream is an over-the-counter topical agent that has been shown to relieve nerve pain.
Medications can also help manage the troublesome symptoms of autonomic neuropathy. For example, antispasmodic or anticholinergic drugs can help prevent urinary incontinence. Drugs to treat erectile dysfunction like sildenafil , tadalafil , and vardenafil may help some men with ED due to diabetic neuropathy. For women, vaginal estrogen creams and lubricants may provide relief of vaginal dryness and irritation.
Botulinum toxin injections have been used to treat abnormal sweating.
Symptoms Of Autonomic Diabetic Neuropathy
The symptoms of autonomic neuropathy are different depending on the area of the body that has been affected. Lets discuss them one by one.
1. Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
When the nerves responsible for heart rate and blood pressure are affected, they begin to respond slowly. Because of this, you may faint when you stand up suddenly from lying down or sitting, or when you are doing any physical activity or exercise. You might feel fluctuations in your heart rate. The heart rate might speed up or slow down.
Nerve damage around this area is so bad that it prevents you from feeling chest pain even when you are having a heart attack, or when your heart is unable to receive enough oxygen.
2. Digestive System
Diabetic neuropathy can cause damage to the nerves in the digestive system as well. after which you notice the following:
Nerve damage in the bladder will show up the following symptoms:
- no feeling to urinate
- leaking drops of urine
4. Sex Organs
When nerves present in sex organs are affected due to diabetic neuropathy, men suffer through:
- erectile dysfunction
- problems with ejaculation
And when women are badly affected by diabetes, the nerves in the sex organs get damaged due to which she suffers through dryness in the vagina while having sex. It also happens that a woman might feel less sensation around the vagina or have difficulty having an orgasm.
Diabetes affects your vision, you may:
Diabetic And Peripheral Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy is a central nerve disorder as a result of diabetes. There are four types of diabetic neuropathy, peripheral, autonomic, proximal, or focal. The most common type of diabetic neuropathy is peripheral. Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that affects the extremities such as the arms, hands, legs, feet, and toes.
Pain Management Through Medication
Diabetic neuropathy is most common in the legs and feet. Without treatment and management, it can become debilitating. The most important thing you can do to lower your risk of all complications, including diabetic neuropathy, is to keep your blood sugar level within the target range.
If you have neuropathy, controlling blood sugar is still very important. But there are some other steps you can take to help control this condition.
One of the first courses of action is pain management through medication. Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, may help alleviate mild to moderate pain. Two medications are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating diabetic peripheral neuropathy:
Other medications and treatment options include the use of opioid medications, such as tramadol and tapentadol, and topical remedies and sprays.
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Maintain Appropriate Blood Sugar Levels
Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is key to preventing nerve damage that occurs with wild blood pressure spikes.
Work with your doctor to figure out an appropriate strategy for this. Some people with diabetes benefit from several small meals a day . Others might manage their weight and stabilize their blood sugar with a standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Each persons best practice will be different. Work closely with your doctor to find your most appropriate strategy.
What Is Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy, also called distal symmetric neuropathy or sensorimotor neuropathy, is nerve damage in the arms and legs. Your feet and legs are likely to be affected before your hands and arms. Many people with diabetes have signs of neuropathy that a doctor could note but feel no symptoms themselves. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include:
- Numbness or insensitivity to pain or temperature
- A tingling, burning, or prickling sensation
- Sharp pains or cramps
- Extreme sensitivity to touch, even light touch
- Loss of balance and coordination
These symptoms are often worse at night.
Peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves in your toes, feet, legs, hands, and arms.
Peripheral neuropathy may also cause muscle weakness and loss of reflexes, especially at the ankle, leading to changes in the way a person walks. Foot deformities, such as hammertoes and the collapse of the midfoot, may occur. Blisters and sores may appear on numb areas of the foot because pressure or injury goes unnoticed. If foot injuries are not treated promptly, the infection may spread to the bone, and the foot may then have to be amputated. Some experts estimate that half of all such amputations are preventable if minor problems are caught and treated in time.
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Can Diabetic Neuropathy Be Prevented
- Keeping diabetes under control is the best way to prevent or stop the progression of diabetic neuropathy. Your doctor can advise you about the best target range for your blood glucose levels, and keeping tight control of blood sugar within this range can help prevent neuropathy and other complications of diabetes.
- Avoiding smoking, getting exercise, and eating a healthy diet are other measures that can help people with diabetes have the best long-term outcomes.
What Is Autonomic Neuropathy
Autonomic neuropathy affects the nerves that control the heart, regulate blood pressure, and control blood glucose levels. Autonomic neuropathy also affects other internal organs, causing problems with digestion, respiratory function, urination, sexual response, and vision. In addition, the system that restores blood glucose levels to normal after a hypoglycemic episode may be affected, resulting in loss of the warning symptoms of hypoglycemia.
Normally, symptoms such as shakiness, sweating, and palpitations occur when blood glucose levels drop below 70 mg/dL. In people with autonomic neuropathy, symptoms may not occur, making hypoglycemia difficult to recognize. Problems other than neuropathy can also cause hypoglycemia unawareness. For more information about hypoglycemia, see the fact sheet Hypoglycemia.
Heart and Blood Vessels
The heart and blood vessels are part of the cardiovascular system, which controls blood circulation. Damage to nerves in the cardiovascular system interferes with the body’s ability to adjust blood pressure and heart rate. As a result, blood pressure may drop sharply after sitting or standing, causing a person to feel light-headed or even to faint. Damage to the nerves that control heart rate can mean that your heart rate stays high, instead of rising and falling in response to normal body functions and physical activity.
Urinary Tract and Sex Organs
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Living With Diabetic Neuropathy: Helping Seniors Cope
More than 25 percent of Americans aged 65 or older have diabetes, and between 60 and 70 percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is a family of nerve disorders that can produce pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands, feet, arms, and legs. The risk of neuropathy increases with age, with the highest rates of neuropathy among those who have had diabetes for 25 years or more.
Neuropathy is the result of prolonged exposure to high blood glucose. It can affect the extremities or even the bodys systems, including the digestive tract, sex organs, and heart. Treating neuropathy initially involves getting blood glucose levels under control to prevent further damage. This is done through monitoring, meal planning, exercise, and medications.
If your aging loved one suffers from neuropathy, its essential to make sure shes following her doctors orders concerning diet and exercise, and its crucial that she takes her medications exactly as prescribed. Beyond that, there are a number of things you can do to help your loved one cope.
Consider complementary therapies for pain.
Try a bed cradle and foot board.
A bed cradle is a device that keeps sheets and blankets away from sensitive feet and legs by holding them in place above the extremities. Foot boards keep the feet in a proper, comfortable position while in bed.
Keep blood pressure under control.
Diagnosis Of Focal Diabetic Neuropathy
For diagnosing focal neuropathies, doctors perform tests such as nerve conduction studies and electromyography . The former test is done to check whether the nerves in a different part of the body are able to respond to the electrical signals moving through them. Whereas, EMG is the test done to see whether the muscles are responding to your nerves.
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Who Is A Candidate For Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Between 60% and 70% of persons with diabetes suffer from one form or another of diabetic neuropathy. Persons that have had diabetes for an extended period of time and elderly persons with diabetes , are more likely to suffer from some form of diabetic neuropathy. Persons who have had diabetes for twenty five years or longer are most likely to suffer from diabetic neuropathy.
What Is Focal Neuropathy
Focal neuropathy appears suddenly and affects specific nerves, most often in the head, torso, or leg. Focal neuropathy may cause
- inability to focus the eye
- double vision
- paralysis on one side of the face, called Bell’s palsy
- severe pain in the lower back or pelvis
- pain in the front of a thigh
- pain in the chest, stomach, or side
- pain on the outside of the shin or inside of the foot
- chest or abdominal pain that is sometimes mistaken for heart disease, a heart attack, or appendicitis
Focal neuropathy is painful and unpredictable and occurs most often in older adults with diabetes. However, it tends to improve by itself over weeks or months and does not cause long-term damage.
People with diabetes also tend to develop nerve compressions, also called entrapment syndromes. One of the most common is carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes numbness and tingling of the hand and sometimes muscle weakness or pain. Other nerves susceptible to entrapment may cause pain on the outside of the shin or the inside of the foot.
How can I prevent diabetic neuropathies?
The best way to prevent neuropathy is to keep your blood glucose levels as close to the normal range as possible. Maintaining safe blood glucose levels protects nerves throughout your body.
How are diabetic neuropathies diagnosed?
The doctor may perform other tests as part of your diagnosis.
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Try A Bed Cradle If You Find The Touch Of The Bed Sheets On Your Legs Is Bothersome To Understand What A Bed Cradle Is Watch This Video
If you try a bed cradle and it doesnt help, talk to your doctor about other treatments such as medicated creams, patches and pills, physiotherapy and relaxation. These are covered in Diabetes Essentials in the two-pager section on Manage Diabetes Nerve Pain. If you have restless legs you are likely also more at risk for a diabetes foot infection. Take steps to look after your feet.
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Type 2 diabetes causes the body to become resistant to the hormone insulin. This hormone unlocks cells. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. While both types of the disease can cause problems, you can minimize the impact by following healthy eating and being physically active. The sooner you know more about diabetes, the better prepared you will be to deal with it. Once you know more about the disease, youll be better prepared for treatment.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that causes the body to produce too much insulin. It is also known as type 2 diabetes. If you have type 1, you can control your blood glucose levels by eating a balanced diet. If you have type 2 diabetes, you can even prevent it by adopting healthy lifestyle habits and modifying your diet. Its important to seek information that can help you be your own health advocate. There are many different types of diabetes, so its important to learn as much as you can about the condition.
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Diagnosis Of Peripheral Diabetic Neuropathy
Based on the symptoms of the patients, their medical and family history, doctors perform physical examinations and tests.
A diabetic patient should get a thorough check-up, at least once a year to make sure if his /her legs and feet are feeling properly. Basically, the doctors under such examinations check for the blood flow and sensation in your feet and legs.
To check thyroid problems, kidney disease, or low vitamin B12 levels, doctors prescribe blood tests.
Treating And Managing Diabetic Foot Pain
Diabetic foot pain and nerve damage is best managed by keeping blood sugar levels in check to keep the damage from worsening.4 Once neuropathy is detected, the main focus is on managing the pain and keeping the legs and feet healthy and protected since this type of nerve damage cannot be reversed.4
To protect your feet, check them every day for blisters, cuts, and cracked skin.2 Wash your feet daily but avoid soaking them. Make sure to dry them carefully after washing and then moisturize the skin on your feet to prevent skin cracks.2 Keep the skin between your toes dry to inhibit fungal growth and carefully trim your toenails to avoid sharp edges. Wear clean, moisture-wicking socks and cushioned shoes that fit well to avoid falling.2 All this may seem like a lot of work for your feet, but diabetic foot pain and nerve damage can make it hard to tell if something is wrong with your footyou may be unable to tell if your foot is irritated in the moment, so taking the time to care for them can help ease your mind.
When it comes to diabetic foot pain relief, your healthcare practitioner may recommend physical therapy to improve strength and balance or a device called a bed cradle, which keeps sheets and blankets off your legs and feet while you sleep.5
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How Can I Prevent The Problems Caused By Peripheral Neuropathy
You can prevent the problems caused by peripheral neuropathy by managing your diabetes, which means managing your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Staying close to your goal numbers can keep nerve damage from getting worse.
If you have diabetes, check your feet for problems every day and take good care of your feet. If you notice any foot problems, call or see your doctor right away.
Remove your socks and shoes in the exam room to remind your doctor to check your feet at every office visit. See your doctor for a foot exam at least once a yearmore often if you have foot problems. Your doctor may send you to a podiatrist.
If So This May Be Diabetes Neuropathy Which Means Damage To Your Nerves Caused By High Blood Sugar Over Many Years Once A Nerve Is Damaged It Cant Be Healed But You Can Reduce The Symptoms And You Can Stop It From Getting Worse
The first thing that needs to be solved is the high blood sugar. Go back to your doctor or diabetes team, and reread the tips and recommendations in our Diabetes Health & Wellness Series. Where can you make a change that will help your blood sugar? Start with one change today.
Exercises that improve blood circulation to your affected area can help. You can try a mini-exercise bike or tai chi or yoga. It may help if you do five or ten minutes of ankle rotations before bedtime. When more blood flows, your damaged nerves will thank you for the extra oxygen and nutrients that gets sent their way.
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