Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that exclusively occurs in people with diabetes.
Caused by high blood sugar levels, diabetic neuropathy symptoms can range from mild to disabling. There is a multitude of symptoms depending on the type of diabetic neuropathy, and it most commonly appears in the lower extremities of the body.Schedule Your Appointment
Symptoms can be minor at first and gradually become more severe, or they can be sudden and severe. The symptoms you experience will depend on what type of diabetic neuropathy you experience. Many symptoms disappear without treatment within a few weeks to a few months but talk to your doctor if your pain lasts longer or becomes more severe over time.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends getting an A1C test at least twice per year . Proactively check your feet for anything unusual, such as ulcers, infections, and improper circulation
One of the most important preventions and treatment options for diabetic neuropathy is maintaining your blood sugar levels within their target range. Although A1C targets are different for each individual, the ADA recommends having an A1C less than 7% or less than 154 mg/dL, 80-130 mg/dL prior to a meal, and less than 180 mg/dL 1-2 hours after a meal.
Pain relief medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen, are available over-the-counter. Your doctor can prescribe other pain relief medications such as anti-seizure medication and antidepressants. Skin patches or creams containing lidocaine can also help reduce pain associated with diabetic neuropathy.
Acupuncture can help relieve pain with no side effects, but it may require several sessions to prove effective.
Eat a balanced diet, and stop using tobacco products. The ADA recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, but talk to your doctor about what exercise regimen is best for you.
Massaging your feet can help stimulate blood flow and encourage good circulation. Use a tennis or massage ball, your hands, or an electrical foot massager for self-massages.
This device uses electrical impulses to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. These devices are common in physical therapy offices and are available online for at-home use.
At The Pain Experts of Arizona Diabetic Neuropathy diagnosis begins with your doctor performing a physical exam to check your overall muscle strength and tone, reflexes, and sensitivity to touch and vibration.
The ADA recommends your doctor performs an annual foot exam. Your doctor may send you to specialists such as urologists or cardiologists to prevent, monitor, and treat complications of neuropathy or side effects of your medication. They may order tests such as:
While the exact cause is unknown, current research indicates that prolonged exposure to higher than normal glucose levels damages the body’s nerves, and high levels of triglycerides are associated with the development of nerve damage.
While anyone with diabetes can develop neuropathy, some risk factors include:
As many as 50% of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy, and you may experience more than one type of neuropathy. The most important thing is to keep your blood sugar within your target range and remain proactive in documenting any symptoms and reducing your risk of developing neuropathy.
The Pain Experts of Arizona was founded to bring the highest level of care in a state-of-the-art setting that emphasizes the belief of treating our patients with the same respect, compassion, and dedication we would treat our own friends and family.
Contact our office to schedule an appointment and let us help you get back on your way to an active life without the limitations of chronic pain. From our Phoenix office, The Pain Experts of Arizona, serves pain management patients in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek, and the entire Phoenix area.