Top 5 Treatments for Diabetic Neuropathy
People with diabetes can develop many different foot problems. In those with diabetes, even ordinary problems can become worse and lead to serious complications.
Diabetic foot problems are most often related to never damage, or neuropathy. Neuropathy can cause pain, tingling, and weakness in the lower legs, feet, and toes. It can also cause numbness, or loss of feeling, in the feet. This may cause you to injure your foot without realizing it. Diabetes causes the blood vessels of the feet and legs to narrow and harden. Poor blood flow slows healing time and puts your feet at greater risk of infection. If your feet are always cold, you may be tempted to warm them. Unfortunately, if your feet have become less sensitive to heat, it is easy for you to accidentally burn them with hot water or heating pads.
The following 5 treatment modalities are safe, scientifically-supported, and may help you combat symptoms of diabetic neuropathy:
1. Diabetic-Friendly Diet
Controlling your blood sugar levels is the safest and most effective way to prevent progression of diabetic neuropathy. Eliminating sugars and refined carbohydrates (soft drinks, juice, candy, desserts, white flour, white rice, etc.) is the key to a diabetic-friendly diet. Eating a diet rich in fresh vegetables, healthy fats, and lean protein not only helps lower your blood glucose levels, it also promotes overall health and prevents other conditions including obesity and high blood pressure. Talk to your physician about creating a diabetic-friendly diet plan. More information can be found at the American Diabetes Association website: www.diabetes.org
2. Regular Exercise
Low impact exercises such as aerobics, yoga, swimming, or Tai Chi have been found to be useful and well-tolerated by those with diabetes and peripheral neuropathy. Improving circulation to the lower extremities with a daily exercise routine is a very important part of preventing, slowing, and reversing peripheral neuropathy. Be sure to consult with your physician first for an approved exercise program. Always wear proper footwear to protect feet from injury. Consider exercising under the supervision of an instructor or personal trainer in advanced cases of neuropathy.
Research studies suggest that people with diabetic neuropathy can potentially benefit from vitamin B12, chromium, and Gymnema sylvestre supplementation. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for nerve health. Studies found that B12 supplementation had beneficial effects on somatic symptoms including pain and tingling. Chromium is a trace mineral found in small amounts in the human body. Although our bodies only require small amounts of chromium, chromium deficiency is associated with poor blood glucose control. Chromium supplementation has been shown to provide multiple benefits to diabetics without documented side effects. Gymnema sylvestre is an herb which has the unique ability to block the tongue’s sweet taste receptors. If you have intense cravings for sweets, a few drops of Gymnema extract will temporarily make any sweet or sugary food taste bland and unappealing. This helps people with diabetes avoid eating sugar. Make sure to consult with your physician before starting any nutritional supplements to ensure they are right for you.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese tradition that has been used to heal people for thousands of years. Acupuncture is gaining popularity in the modern medical world as a non-invasive pain management tool. Research has shown that acupuncture can treat neurological conditions including Bell’s palsy, carpal tunnel syndrome, and neuropathy. Make sure to consult with a naturopathic physician or a licensed acupuncturist for more information on how acupuncture can help relieve your symptoms.
5. Light Therapy
Infrared Light Therapy works by increasing oxygen and energy levels inside your body’s cells. Not only does this decrease pain and inflammation, it also promotes tissue regeneration, making it a valuable tool for healing bone fractures, bruises, and other injuries. Infrared Light Therapy also treats neuropathy, including debilitating peripheral neuropathy of the hands and feet caused by diabetes or chemotherapy. When looking for Infrared Light Therapy, make sure to consult with a naturopathic physician with experience in FDA-approved light therapy systems.
If you have questions regarding any of these treatment methods, or if you would like to schedule a free consultation for you or your family member to discuss the best way to manage foot pain, tingling, or numbness and stop the progression of neuropathy symptoms, please give us a call at MedRoyal in Chandler, AZ, at (480) 783-0708.
Or email us at FrontDesk@MedRoyalAZ.com.