How to Reduce Your Risk of Nerve Pain and Damage Caused by Diabetes

diabetesIf you suffer from diabetes, there is a good chance that you also suffer from some form of nerve damage or nerve pain. My dad is a diabetic and both of his legs cause him pain. Sometimes the pain is so severe that the slightest movement can cause him to lose his breath. Then there are times where the pain is moderate and he can walk, but the pain is always present. Reducing your risk of nerve pain is essential and can save you years of agony. Following these tips can also help to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attack.

Lower Your High Blood Sugar

This may go without saying, but many people simply do not try to get their blood sugar levels under control and then become victims of diabetic nerve pain. You need to stick to your exercise routine, eat a varied and healthy diet and take any diabetes medications as prescribed no matter what. This may not eliminate any existing nerve pain, but it can help prevent it from getting worse and it may even alleviate it a bit.

Monitor Your Blood Sugar Regularly

It is best to check your blood sugar levels at least two to three times a day. If your doctor tells you to do it more often then listen to them. It is also a good idea to have the A1c blood test performed at least twice a year so that your average blood glucose can be measured. Staying one step ahead of your blood sugar will only benefit you and help you decrease your chances of further nerve pain and nerve damage.

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Lose Weight

If you are overweight this spells out double trouble. Diabetics that are overweight are at a much higher risk of experiencing nerve pain and nerve damage. Being overweight also increases your chances of stroke and heart attack. Losing weight is hard, but possible. If you need help losing weight consult your physician for advice and/or a nutritionist. A physical therapist can also be helpful because they can help you develop an exercise routine that works for you.

Take Some Years Off

Those over 40 years of age are at a higher risk of falling victim to diabetic nerve damage. Since you can’t just hop in a time machine, change your lifestyle. Making healthy diet changes, quitting smoking and exercising regularly will help immensely.

Get Your Blood Fats in Check

Many diabetics have high bad cholesterol (LDL) and low good cholesterol (HDL). Their triglycerides are often too high as well. Getting these in check will help to reduce your chances of further nerve damage which will in turn help to decrease your chances of severe nerve pain. Medications can be very beneficial, but in addition you need to make healthy changes to your diet, exercise more and quit smoking and drinking if you have any of these habits.

Get Your Blood Pressure Under Control

Diabetics who also have high blood pressure are at a higher risk of falling victim to diabetic neuropathy. Some people are lucky enough to be able to lower and control their blood pressure with diet and exercise alone, but many will need medication in addition to a healthy life style. Smoking and drinking also increase blood pressure so quit.

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Quit Smoking

I mention this often throughout the article, but it definitely deserves multiple mentions. Those who smoke are at a higher risk of developing nerve damage due to diabetes. Smoking can also lead to lung cancer and heart disease. Quitting smoking is no easy feat so get help if necessary. You can quit and when you do your body will thank you.

Put Down the Bottle

I have mentioned this a few times as well for good reason. If you are a heavy drinker you will need to slowly cut down your alcohol and your doctor will be able to help you do this. Alcohol can cause spikes in your blood sugar just like sweets do. This can make it quite difficult to keep your blood sugar levels in check. If your blood sugars are not in check you put yourself at a greater risk of nerve damage and nerve pain due to diabetes. Drinking also leads to cirrhosis of the liver and weight gain.