Diabetic neuropathy is a name for the condition in which there is damage to the nerves which is a result of having diabetes. High glucose levels may be responsible for extensive nerve damage throughout the body. most of the times, diabetic neuropathy leads to damage in the nerves of your feet and legs.(1)
What Is The Best Treatment For Diabetic Neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy cannot be cured. The focus of the treatment is on –
Slowing the progression of the disease
Relieving symptoms like pain
Prevent or manage complications and re-establish function of organs(2)
Slowing The Progression Of The Disease-
To prevent or delay the onset of nerve damage, it is extremely important to keep your blood sugar levels in check. This may improve your present symptoms. The range in which you should be keeping your sugar levels will depend on several factors like your age, your history of diabetes and your general health condition. These ranges may be needed to be adjusted according to your individual health needs(2)
Keeping the blood pressure under control, maintaining healthy body weight and following a healthy lifestyle are other factors that can help in slowing the progression of the disease and managing the condition.(2)
Relieving Symptoms Like Pain –
Diabetes linked nerve pain can be alleviated with the help of many medicines that are available over the counter. However, they may not be useful for everyone. Also, there is a possibility of side effects. It is recommended to talk to your doctor about the benefits and side effects of medicines and know which ones would be the best suitable for you.(2)
Some of the medicines used in treating pain in diabetic neuropathy are –
Some medicines that are used to treat seizures may also be useful in easing nerve pain. Pregabalin is usually the drug used to start the treatment. Other drugs that may be used are gabapentin and carbamazepine. However, there may be side effects with these medicines, which may include drowsiness, giddiness or dizziness and swelling.(2)
These medicines may help in hampering some chemicals in the brain which cause you to feel pain. It is not necessary that one should suffer from depression to use these medicines for curing nerve pain. These medicines consist of two categories- tricyclic antidepressants (like amitriptyline, desipramine, and imipramine) and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, like duloxetine, venlafaxine, etc.).
These medicines may exhibit side effects like sweating, dryness in the mouth, unexplained weight gain, dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite, sleepiness or drowsiness, constipation, etc.(2)
Antidepressants may also be given in combination with pain relievers or anti-seizure medications.(2)
Prevention or management of complications and re-establishment of organ function-
Your doctor may team up with different specialists like urologist or cardiologist to treat, prevent and manage your complications. The treatment will depend on what neuropathy-related problem you are suffering from. The problems may involve many like urinary problems, digestive problems, blood pressure related problems, sexual dysfunction, etc. the treatment will vary according to the difficulties or problems you face.(2)
Risk Factors For Diabetic Neuropathy
Some factors may put you at an increased risk of getting diabetic neuropathy. Identifying the risk factors for this condition and managing them may help in delaying the onset of complications and keep symptoms under control. The known risk factors for diabetic neuropathy include-
- Poor control of blood sugar levels
- Duration of diabetes
- The occurrence of kidney diseases
There is no known cure for diabetic neuropathy. The treatment, however, can slow down the progression of the disease, help in relieving symptoms like nerve pain and help in managing, preventing or delaying complications of diabetic neuropathy and reinstate functions of various organs. The best treatment for diabetic neuropathy comprises of a combination of different methods and medications.
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