Type 2 diabetes is on the rise, and with it the condition known as diabetic neuropathy. Neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes but not everyone will develop it. Diabetic neuropathy occurs when nerves are damaged by constant high blood sugar. The damaged nerves can cause pain, tingling, and numbness in your extremities, especially in your hands and feet.
While there is no way to completely reverse neuropathy, you can take steps to improve your symptoms so you can live your life normally. This will help you perform everyday activities, sleep better and feel happier.
Here are seven natural ways to treat diabetic neuropathy.
1) Control Your Blood Sugar
The first and most important way to treat diabetic neuropathy is to control your blood sugar levels. Since high blood sugar levels affect the nerve fibers that lead to neuropathy, it is vital to lower your blood sugar so that no more nerve fibers are damaged.
This will also help relieve the pain of neuropathy as well. Lowering blood sugar will also make you feel better and lose weight.
Regularly check your blood sugar and keep it in the target range your doctor has recommended.
2) Quit Smoking
If you are still smoking cigarettes, now is the time to stop. Not only is it bad for your overall health, but it also makes the symptoms of your neuropathy worse.
Smoking restricts your blood vessels so that your blood no longer circulates properly.
This keeps your nerves from getting the nutrients they need from your blood, resulting in increased pain and inflammation. You also increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke if you are smoking while diabetic.
3) Workout Regularly
Being more active helps reduce blood sugar levels as well as increase blood flow. These will both prevent neuropathy and decrease its symptoms. In addition, exercise can help you manage stress, a big factor in reducing inflammation.
Try to be active at least 30 minutes a day. A brisk walk is a great way to start getting active.
If you already have neuropathy and find physical activity difficult, visit a physical therapist who can help you find safe exercises to strengthen your muscles and return to normal daily activities.
4) Use Alternative Treatments
Instead of using over the counter or prescription drugs, try using some alternative remedies that have been shown to relieve the symptoms of neuropathy.
Primrose oil, alpha-lipoic acid, and capsaicin can all help improve nerve function and ease pain. Alpha-Lipoic acid can be taken as a supplement. Primrose oil is another supplement and should be taken in the evening to help improve nerve function.
Capsaicin cream is made from the active ingredient in peppers and can be applied directly to the skin to reduce pain.
5) Protect Your Skin
Be sure to take good care of your skin, especially on your hands and feet. Since neuropathy can cause a loss of feeling, you may not realize that you have scratched or cut your foot.
This can lead to serious complications. Apply lotion, wear socks and gloves, and always inspect your skin at the end of the day.
You can get a massage or relax in a warm bath to help ease painful feet as well. You will not just be pampering yourself, but taking serious care of your body!
6) Supplement with Vitamins
Eating a healthy diet helps you get all of your vitamins and minerals, but sometimes there can be still be a deficiency.
In this case, you may need to supplement with vitamins. Diabetics can help ease neuropathy symptoms with Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12.
Research suggests that Vitamin D lowers the pain of neuropathy. Vitamin B6 can help ease the pain while a deficiency in Vitamin B12 can cause nerve damage.
If you are looking for pain relief, consider acupuncture. This ancient Chinese practice has been used to ease pain of all types, but can be especially helpful for those with neuropathy. Tiny needles are placed in the skin at certain points to relieve nerve pain.
Prior to having acupuncture make sure to first consult a medical professional to determine if its right for you. Some side effects can include pain and bruising, injury and infection. This is why it is important to only see a licensed professional.
Diabetic neuropathy is a common side effect of diabetes but it does not have to negatively impact your day to day life.
By taking care of your body and managing your diabetic symptoms, you can reduce and even stop neuropathy from developing.
Besides regulating blood sugar, practising a healthy lifestyle that focuses on activity, nutrition and stress relief can help ease your pain.