Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
What is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is the medical term for a condition in which there are problems with nerves in the body; either they have been damaged or are affected by a disease. Usually, neuropathy affects the peripheral nervous system rather than the central nervous system (brain and spine). National Institutes of Health estimated that peripheral neuropathy affects about 20 million people in the U.S.
3 Types of Neuropathies:
In the peripheral nervous system, there are three primary types of nerves:
1. Sensory nerves control the senses and the body's interpretation of different sensations.
2. Motor nerves control muscle movement and power.
3. Autonomic nerves control bodily systems like the gastrointestinal and urinary systems.
Tingling and Numbness: Many people with diabetic neuropathy experience tingling sensations or numbness in their hands, feet, legs, or arms. This can make it difficult to feel sensations or detect temperature changes.
Pain: Diabetic neuropathy can cause sharp or burning pain in the affected areas. The pain may be constant or come and go. It can range from mild discomfort to severe and debilitating pain.
Muscle Weakness: Nerve damage can lead to muscle weakness, particularly in the legs and feet. This can affect balance and coordination, making walking or performing daily activities challenging.
Digestive Issues: Autonomic neuropathy can affect the nerves that control digestion, leading to problems like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. Some individuals may experience difficulty swallowing or feel full quickly after eating.
Urinary Problems: Damage to the nerves controlling the urinary system can result in bladder dysfunction. This may cause frequent urination, urgency, difficulty emptying the bladder completely, or urinary incontinence.
Sexual Dysfunction: Diabetic neuropathy can also affect sexual function in both men and women. Men may experience erectile dysfunction, while women may have difficulty with arousal or orgasm.
Changes in Blood Pressure and Heart Rate: Autonomic neuropathy can disrupt the regulation of blood pressure and heart rate, leading to dizziness, lightheadedness, or an irregular heartbeat.
It's important to note that not everyone with diabetic neuropathy will experience all of these symptoms, and the severity can vary.
The Most Common Cause of Peripheral Neuropathy is Diabetes.
Prolonged high blood sugar levels can lead to nerve damage.
Other Causes Include:
- Vitamin deficiencies (especially vitamin B12)
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Chronic kidney or liver disease
- Connective tissue diseases
- Inflammatory autoimmune disorders
- Pressure on a nerve, and bone marrow disorders.
Seven Remedies for Diabetic Neuropathy:
1. Manage Blood Sugar Levels:
Controlling your blood sugar levels is crucial in preventing and managing neuropathy. High blood sugar greatly increases the risk of developing peripheral neuropathy. Regular blood glucose testing, a healthy diet, intermittent fasting, exercise, and working with your doctor can help keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
2. Follow a Healthy Diet:
Your diet plays a significant role in managing diabetes and its complications. Focus on unprocessed, whole foods and limit refined carbs, added sugars, and sugary drinks. Incorporate high-fiber foods, vegetables, whole fruits, wild-caught fish, healthy fats, and lean proteins into your diet. Avoid white sugar and artificial sweeteners, and try using stevia as a natural alternative.
Dr. Berg explains "Reversing Neuropathy" is Very Possible.
3. Exercise and Try Physical Therapy:
Regular exercise helps control blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight, and improve strength and range of motion. Low-impact exercises like cycling, swimming, or walking are recommended. Exercise also improves circulation, reduces cholesterol, and lowers stress, all of which can benefit neuropathy.
4. Reduce Exposure to Toxins and Quit Smoking:
Lowering your exposure to toxins, such as pesticides and chemical household cleaners, can help prevent further damage to the nerves. Quitting smoking is crucial as it worsens nerve damage in people with diabetes and increases the risk of complications.
5. Manage Stress:
Stress can worsen inflammation and increase the risk of complications. Find ways to relieve stress, such as exercising, meditating, practicing healing prayer, spending time in nature, or engaging in hobbies. Acupuncture can also be beneficial in reducing stress and neuropathy symptoms.
6. Lower Pain Naturally:
Certain natural remedies can help alleviate diabetic nerve pain and slow down nerve damage.
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Vitamin B12 supplements
- Evening primrose oil
- Chromium picolinate
- Omega-3 fish oil
- and essential oils like peppermint, lavender, and frankincense.
7. Protect Your Skin and Feet:
Regularly monitor your skin and feet for any signs of new nerve damage. Look for blisters, sores, or ulcers. Proper foot care and skin care are essential in preventing complications. Make sure to follow the recommendations of the American Diabetes Association.
By implementing these remedies and taking steps to manage your diabetes, you will improve your symptoms and overall quality of life.