Nerve pain from diabetes is referred to as diabetic neuropathy, which can cause pain or weakening of areas throughout the body. Nerves can be damaged from high blood sugar levels over a long period of time.
Peripheral neuropathy affects the feet, legs, hands, and arms. Autonomic neuropathy may damage the heart, lungs, stomach, bladder, intestines, eyes and sex organs. Proximal neuropathy usually occurs on one side of the body and may eventually spread to the other side. Mononeuropathy involves damage to specific nerves in the face, leg or torso.
There is no cure for diabetic neuropathy, but treatment can relieve pain, slow the progression of the disease, and help restore function, according to the Mayo Clinic
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Doctors may recommend keeping your blood sugar levels under control through diet, exercise and medication. They may advise maintaining levels between 80 and 120 mg/dL for people age 59 and younger, or between 100 and 140 mg/dL for those age 60 and older.
Creams may be recommended for pain, including capsaicin creams. Capsaicin from chili peppers has been found to offer pain relief. Physical therapy and acupuncture are sometimes recommended. Alternative therapies include biofeedback, meditation and hypnosis, which may relieve diabetic nerve pain but have not yet been proven for effectiveness in research, according to Healthline
Medication includes anti-seizure medicine that is also used for epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Antidepressants can relieve mild or moderate pain by interacting with the chemical process in the brain that signals pain.
For pain in specific areas, doctors use medications that target the complications caused by neuropathy. Antispasmodic medications and behavioral techniques that help people time urination are used for urinary tract problems.
Digestive problems caused by autonomic neuropathy may improve through dietary changes. Doctors might recommend eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, or reducing fiber and fat in the diet to reduce symptoms such as indigestion, nausea, or vomiting.
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy may include low blood pressure when standing. Doctors may recommend medication or lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol and drinking plenty of water. Learning to sit or stand slowly or using compression support for the abdomen may also help.
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Autonomic neuropathy may also cause urinary problems, erectile dysfunction for men and sexual difficulties for women. Medication used to improve sexual function may be effective for these symptoms in neuropathy.
The main way to prevent nerve pain from diabetes is to help patients keep their blood sugar levels under control while following a healthy meal plan and exercise program, Healthline said.
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