If you suffer from diabetes—or have a friend or relative who does—you’re probably aware that it comes with some challenges, whether the diagnosis is Type 1 or Type 2. In particular, if you have this disease you are significantly more likely than the general population to develop diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a condition where high blood sugar damages nerves in your feet and hands, gradually robbing them of feeling and sensation. Ultimately, this can lead to serious complications, including infections, amputations, or significant bone damage.
However, you are also probably aware that a diabetes diagnosis does not mean you can’t live a long, full, happy, healthy life. You don’t have to let diabetes get on your nerves.
The best way to prevent or delay the onset of diabetic neuropathy in your feet is by rigorously maintaining healthy blood sugar levels through continuous monitoring and appropriate diet, exercise, and medication. It’s critical to be disciplined and consistent. Shifts in the glucose levels—whether low to high, or high to low—accelerate the damage.
Staying within your glucose targets is the biggest factor, but not the only one. Evidence suggests that those who have high blood pressure are more susceptible to neuropathy, even after controlling for blood sugar levels, since high blood pressure reduces blood flow to the extremities (and therefore delivers less oxygen and fewer nutrients to the nerves). Regular exercise keeps your blood pumping efficiently, keeping both pressure and sugar under better control.
Another thing you can do? Eat a diet rich in nerve-nourishing nutrients. B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, magnesium, and healthy fatty acids are among the most important for proper nerve function.
Finally, remember—you’re not in this alone. Dr. Fox and the team at Massapequa Podiatry Associates specialize in diabetic foot care, including prevention and treatment of diabetic neuropathy. We assess circulation, nerve function, pressure points, and gait, and use several treatment options, including diabetic shoes or inserts designed to keep your feet and lower limbs performing optimally. Taking good care of your health at home, going to yearly comprehensive diabetic foot exams, and talking with your general practitioner about your situation can help you protect your nerves from damage despite your diagnosis.
While the problems posed by diabetes are manageable, even preventable, they do not go away on their own. Be proactive and give us a call today for a comprehensive diabetic exam. You can reach us at 516-541-9000.