When you have diabetes, the disease can lead to a host of complications, with peripheral neuropathy at the top of the list. Peripheral neuropathy is the medical term for damage to the extensive network of nerves outside your central nervous system, and the problem eventually affects about half of people with diabetes in the United States.
At Valiant Life Medical, our skilled and experienced team of integrative health experts specializes in peripheral neuropathy.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who already have peripheral neuropathy (PN) or you’d like to avoid this diabetes complication in the first place, read on for five great tips.
1. Manage your blood sugar levels
Diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy is the result of high levels of glucose in your blood, which can damage the tiny blood vessels that service your nerves. As a result, the nerves become damaged, a problem that tends to develop in your extremities, such as your feet and lower legs.
The very best way to manage PN is to be vigilant about your blood sugar levels. This means following your diabetes care to the letter so that you can keep the glucose levels in your blood in check. This can not only prevent PN, but slow the progression of any PN that’s already developed.
2. Physical therapy and exercise
When you have PN, it’s important to encourage healthy blood flow to the area, which is best achieved through exercise and targeted physical therapies.
On your own, we encourage you to get moving and get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, whether you go for a walk or clean the house.
We also recommend that you avail yourself of our physical therapy services, which provide you with more targeted exercise that encourage better nerve health.
3. Get the right footwear
Before you go out and exercise, be sure that you have footwear that fully supports your feet and provides enough room for your toes to spread out. In reality, this applies to any shoe that you put on your feet.
If you have PN in your lower extremities, the last thing you want to do is wear pointy shoes that crowd your toes or heels that don’t encourage balance in your feet.
4. Support your nerve health through vitamins
Another great way to manage PN is to support your nerve health through vitamins. More specifically, B vitamins, including B1, B6, and B12, which are known to play a positive role in your nervous system
You can take supplements for B vitamins, or you can eat foods that are great sources of the vitamin, such as salmon, leafy greens, eggs, milk, beans, and yogurt.
5. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol can have a toxic effect on your nerves, so avoiding drinking altogether is important if you have PN.
If you have more questions about PN and ways you can slow the damage or manage the symptoms, we’re here to help you come up with the best treatment plan for your needs.
To get started, please contact our office in Fort Worth, Texas, to set up an appointment with one of peripheral neuropathy specialists.