Diabetic neuropathy is the technical term for damage to the nerves responsible for reporting information to your central nervous system (your spinal cord and brain) caused by diabetes. This condition can be quite painful. More concerning, however, is when there is no sensation at all!
Neuropathy is commonly experienced by those who have diabetes. This is very concerning because diabetic individuals who suffer from nerve damage have a heightened risk for sustaining an injury and not being aware of it at all. When the wound is not attended to in a timely manner—or at all—an otherwise minor issue can become a dangerous situation.
As with any condition, the first step in being able to take care of damaged nerves is being aware the issue exists. This means recognizing neuropathy symptoms like:
- A gradual onset of tingling and/or numbness that originates in the feet, but then might spread upward into the legs
- Burning, sharp, or jabbing pain
- Falling, tripping, or other issues due to lack of coordination
- Extreme sensitivity to touch
- Muscle weakness and even paralysis (when motor nerves are affected)
It can be rather concerning to experience any of these symptoms and realize you have nerve problems in your lower limbs, but the good news is there are treatments for this condition. We have various treatment options to address painful symptoms and even potentially restore damaged nerves – including our state-of-the-art Neurogenx therapy.
Of course, it’s always better to prevent a problem than have to treat one. With that in mind, lifestyle choices you can make to lower your risk of developing diabetic neuropathy include:
- Monitor blood sugar levels. This is particularly important for diabetic individuals, who are at heightened risk for serious medical complications that can result from neuropathic conditions.
- Exercise. The benefits to exercising are virtually countless, but you are sure to find this one on the list – regular exercise can decrease the levels of pain that accompany neuropathy. We can help you establish a workout program that works best for you, no matter your age or current level of physical fitness!
- Quit smoking. Yes, we know this is easier said than done, but that doesn’t diminish its importance. The negative effect this habit has on circulation can increase the risk of neuropathy and contribute to existing nerve issues.
- Eat healthy meals. Placing a strong emphasis on eating healthy foods will ensure that your body receives the essential minerals and vitamins to promote nerve health. Build your diet around low-fat dairy products, lean meats, whole grains, and fresh fruit and veggies to keep nerve pain away. Additionally, too much sugar consumption can damage your nerves, so limit the number of sweet treats you eat.
- Avoid drinking excessively. This is solid advice in general, but alcohol can worsen neuropathy. A glass of wine per day might be alright, but check with our office for specific recommendations.
- Medical consultation. The best way to create an action plan for keeping the nerves in your lower body healthy is to stop in and see our specialists. We can evaluate your situation and work with you to develop a plan that works for you.
As noted, we provide treatment for neuropathy. Our Neurogenx NerveCenter of Ohio has been a valuable resource for many patients from across the greater Dayton community. If you are experiencing nerve problems in your lower limbs, we will be glad to help.
We also provide diabetic foot care services. Nerve damage is a common problem for people who have diabetes, but this issue can play a role in even bigger problems – including Charcot foot and diabetic ulcers. Our team can work with you to protect your feet and reduce your risk of serious medical complications from the disease.
Remember, no matter what kind of problem you are experiencing in your lower limbs, Sunshein Podiatry is here for you!
For more information on neuropathy, diabetic foot care, or any of the treatment services we offer—or to request an appointment with our Centerville office—give us a call at (937) 435-7477 and one of our team members will be happy to assist you.