How to Prevent Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve disorder caused by diabetes. It often causes numbness or loss of feeling in the feet, legs, hands or arms because of damage to nerves in these areas of the body.

The best way to prevent diabetic neuropathy is by controlling blood glucose levels. Eating a healthful, low-carb diet, exercising regularly and taking any prescribed diabetic medication are very important in preventing diabetic neuropathy.

Risk Factors

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) reports that neuropathy can be found in up to 60 to 70 percent of those with diabetes. The longer someone has had diabetes, their chance of developing this disorder increases.

Uncontrolled blood sugar, being overweight, having high blood pressure and elevated blood fat levels are common risk factors for getting neuropathy.

Types of Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy, the type of this disorder that affects the limbs, is the most common type of neuropathy. Other types affect the nerves to the heart, lungs, sex organs or eyes, and other types cause pain in the hips, thighs or buttocks. Serious consequences from this disease can occur in any area of the body.

Proper Footcare

Diabetics are usually advised to check their feet daily because they may not have proper circulation or feeling in their feet. If they have a sore or injury, it could become infected because they are not aware of it due to lack of feeling in this area.

Corns or callouses should be dealt with if they appear. They can be gently filed with a pumice stone, and lotion should be applied each day, but not between the toes. Thick, soft socks that do not bind or cut off circulation should be worn, and a diabetic should not walk barefooted because of the risk of foot injury.

NDIC reports that careful foot care could prevent almost half of the 86,000 amputations required each year. While doing a daily foot check, diabetics should look for any cracks, sores or other problems. If the sores or cracks do not heal in a day or two, it is recommended that they see a foot doctor or podiatrist.

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