If you have diabetes but don’t have nerve damage yet, you’re among the fortunate ones. About half of diabetics develop neuropathy at some point, and depending on the type of nerves affected, it could mean pain, a loss of sensation, or problems with your digestive system and other organs.
Our providers at CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center help diabetic patients throughout Maryland slow the progression of diabetic neuropathy and reduce symptoms. Here’s a closer look at how diabetes leads to nerve damage and what treatment options may be able to help you.
Blood sugar and biology
Your cells require glucose (sugar) to function and regenerate. They get this sugar when you eat food and your body breaks it down into glucose. Ideally, this triggers your pancreas to produce a hormone called insulin, and insulin enables the glucose to enter your cells.
When the sugar enters your cells, the level in your blood drops, and so does your insulin production. If you miss a meal or two and your blood sugar is low, this triggers your liver to release stored sugar.
However, if you have diabetes, this process doesn’t go as it should. Instead, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin, or if it does make enough, the cells don’t respond properly to the insulin. Because of this, the sugar stays in your blood, leading to high levels of blood sugar.
What high blood sugar does to your nerves
Your body wasn’t designed to have high levels of blood sugar. If your levels are too high for too long, this can cause tissue damage, which can lead to neuropathy on two fronts:
- The damaging of nerve cells and fibers
- The damaging of blood vessels that carry nutrients and oxygen to the nerves
The one-two punch can impair your nerves so they no longer function properly. Depending on the location of the damaged nerves, you may experience:
- Peripheral neuropathy, which manifests as tingling or pain in your extremities
- Autonomic neuropathy, which manifests as organ dysfunction
- Focal neuropathy, which manifests as pain in a single nerve
- Proximal neuropathy, which manifests as hip, thigh, or one-sided body pain
While diabetic neuropathy isn’t curable or reversible, we can do a lot to curb your symptoms, and so can you.
How to ease your diabetic neuropathy symptoms
The best way to reduce diabetes-related pain, tingling, muscle weakness, and extreme sensitivity is to control your blood sugar and weight. You can do your part by:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Not smoking
- Sleeping well
- Reducing stress
- Limiting alcohol intake
At CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center, we can give you a helping hand in your efforts to control your blood sugar and ease your symptoms. In addition to medications to reduce pain and inflammation, we also offer injection therapy to stop your misfiring nerves from sending pain messages to your brain.
Many of our patients also find that our alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, are very effective at quelling pain.
If you’re living with diabetes and are suffering from the symptoms of neuropathy, there’s no reason to endure the discomfort. To get the care you need, book an appointment online or over the phone with CHOICE Pain & Rehabilitation Center today.