Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy

What is Diabetic Neuropathy?

Neuropathy is the medical term for a condition in which there are problems with nerves in the body; either they have been damaged or are affected by a disease. Usually, neuropathy affects the peripheral nervous system rather than the central nervous system (brain and spine). National Institutes of Health estimated that peripheral neuropathy affects about 20 million people in the U.S.

Types of Neuropathies - In the peripheral nervous system, there are three primary types of nerves:

  • Sensory nerves control the senses and the body's interpretation of different sensations.
  • Motor nerves control muscle movement and power.
  • Autonomic nerves control bodily systems like the gastrointestinal and urinary systems

Causes of Neuropathy:

The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy is diabetes - prolonged high blood sugar eventually damages the walls of blood vessels, and the small vessels in the hands and feet show signs of damage first.

The good news is diabetic neuropathy is reversible over time in many (not all) people that have type II diabetes.

Courtesy of and Dr Eric Berg DC.

Other possible causes of neuropathy: Vitamin deficiencies (especially vitamin B12), Medications, Toxins, Excessive alcohol consumption, Chronic kidney or liver disease, Infections Connective tissue diseases, Inflammatory Autoimmune disorders, Pressure on a nerve, and Bone marrow disorders.

Seven Remedies for Diabetic Neuropathy Diabetes is extremely common, affecting about one in every three adults in the U.S. diabetic neuropathy is one of the most likely complications to develop as a side effect because high blood sugar levels affect nerve fibers throughout the body. Neuropathy is a pathological condition that encompasses more than 100 different forms and manifestations of nerve damage, both in people with diabetes and those without.

Diabetic neuropathy (also sometimes called peripheral neuropathy) is the term for nerve damage caused by diabetes, a chronic condition that occurs when the body doesn’t use the hormone insulin properly. Neuropathy can form anywhere but is most likely to affect nerves running through the limbs, hands, and feet.

Not every person with diabetes symptoms develops complications such as neuropathy, but many do. Up to 60 percent to 70 percent of all diabetics experience some form of neuropathy. For some people, only mild symptoms develop from nerve damage, such as tingling or numbness in the limbs. But for others, neuropathy causes a good amount of pain, digestive issues, problems with the heart and blood vessels, the inability to go about life normally, and even death if major organs are affected badly enough.

Diabetic neuropathy can trigger a cascade of events that lead to even more serious complications. Just like with diabetes itself, there is no known “cure” for peripheral neuropathy, only ways to manage it and stop progression, like the natural treatments for diabetes. It’s a dangerous problem to have, but fortunately, most people can keep it under control by regulating their blood sugar levels, changing their diets, and adopting healthier lifestyles overall, all of which help control their diabetes.

1. Manage Blood Sugar Levels: The best thing you can do to help prevent or control neuropathy is to manage your blood sugar levels. Maintaining blood sugar consistently within a healthy range is the most important thing to prevent permanent damage to the nerves, blood vessels, eyes, skin, and other body parts before complications develop. Studies have found that high blood sugar greatly increases the risk for peripheral neuropathy, which accounts for hospitalizations more frequently than any other complications of diabetes and is the most frequent cause of non‐traumatic amputations. The best way to do this is through a combination of frequent blood glucose testing, eating a healthy diet, intermittent fasting, exercising, and working with your doctor to determine if you need diabetes medicine and/or insulin therapy.

2. Follow a Healthy Diet: Your diet starts at the grocery store; buy healthy foods and beverages and you’re well on your way. Your diet directly impacts your blood sugar levels, so it’s the first place to start managing diabetic symptoms and complications. Focus your diet around unprocessed, whole foods, and limit or reduce your intake of refined carbs, added sugars, and sugary drinks to help stabilize blood sugar. Some simple ways to do this include drinking water/herbal tea over soda, juice, and other sweetened drinks; eating plenty of healthy fats and lean proteins over refined carbohydrates; buying less packaged foods and always checking labels for added ingredients or sugars when you do; and managing your weight more easily by cooking at home and using techniques like roasting, baking, steaming or broiling over frying.

As part of your diabetic diet plan, eat plenty of high-fiber foods that are packed with nutrients but low in sugar/artificial ingredients, including:

  • vegetables and whole fruits: all kinds, which are high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and essential electrolytes like minerals and potassium.
  • wild-caught fish: omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil benefits diabetics by lowering triglycerides and apoproteins that raise the risk for diabetic complications.
  • healthy fats: coconut oil/coconut milk, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado.
  • lean protein foods: grass-fed beef, pasture-raised poultry, cage-free eggs, and sprouted beans/legumes, which are also high in fiber.

We highly recommend stevia, a natural no-calorie sweetener, in place of table sugar.

Other helpful tips for managing blood sugar with your diet include:

  • Avoid white sugar (and artificial sweeteners like sucralose, and aspartame) at all costs.
  • Cut out most grains if possible, but especially those made with refined wheat flour.
  • Limit your intake of high-sodium foods. Keep sodium to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day to help control blood pressure.
  • Drink six to eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day to stay hydrated, plus fill up on more fiber-rich and water-rich foods like fresh veggies and fruit to feel satisfied on less.
  • Watch your portions, and try measuring things for a bit to learn proper serving sizes.
  • If it helps you, try keeping track of your daily food intake in a food journal for several weeks to monitor your progress and get a better picture of how you’re doing.
  • Manage blood sugar by sticking to regular meals and snack times, and eating balanced portions every few hours.
  • Bring your lunch to work/school, and try having healthy snacks on you.

3. Exercise and Try Physical: Therapy Exercising regularly is one of the simplest ways to manage your diabetes symptoms, help you maintain a healthy weight, control blood sugar and high blood pressure symptoms, increase strength, and improve your range of motion — in addition to all the other benefits of exercise. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Diabetes Complications found that regular exercise caused significant reductions in pain and neuropathic symptoms in diabetics and increased intraepidermal nerve fiber branching. Work your way up to exercising for 30–60 minutes daily, doing low-impact exercises like cycling, swimming, or walking. This helps your body respond to insulin better and lower blood glucose, possibly even to the point where you can take fewer medications. Exercise also helps protect nerves by improving circulation, reducing cholesterol, and lowering stress, which can raise your glucose levels and increase inflammation.

4. Reduce Exposure to Toxins and Quit Smoking: People with neuropathy are more likely to develop kidney stone symptoms and other kidney problems, including kidney disease, which is why it’s important to take added stress off your kidneys to prevent an accumulation of toxins in the blood that worsens the problem. Lower your exposure to pesticide chemicals sprayed on non-organic crops, chemical household cleaners, and beauty products, unnecessary prescriptions or antibiotics, and too much alcohol and cigarettes/recreation drugs. Quit smoking as quickly as possible, since if you have diabetes and use tobacco in any form, you’re more likely than diabetic nonsmokers to develop nerve damage and even have a heart attack or stroke.

5. Manage Stress: Stress makes inflammation worse and raises the risk for diabetes complications of all sorts. Exercising, meditating, practicing healing prayer, spending more time doing hobbies or being in nature, and being around family and friends are all natural stress relievers you should try. Acupuncture is another beneficial treatment that not only helps lower stress and pain but also has been shown to ease symptoms of neuropathy safely with very few, if any, side effects.

6. Lower Pain Naturally: If you’ve already developed neuropathy and are looking for ways to lower diabetic nerve pain and improve daily functions, you’ll be happy to hear that a combination of natural remedies can help. Studies have shown that several natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants help stop nerve damage from progression and lower pain.

  • Alpha lipoic acid: an anti-inflammatory shown to improve insulin sensitivity and defend against neuropathy, take 300–1,200 milligrams daily.
  • Evening primrose oil: an anti-inflammatory that lowers neuropathy numbness, tingling, and burning and has other positive effects, take 360 milligrams daily.
  • Chromium picolinate: helps improve insulin sensitivity, take 600 micrograms daily.
  • Cinnamon: known to help stabilize blood sugar, add one to two teaspoons to meals daily, and try using cinnamon oil.
  • Omega-3 fish oil: take 1,000 milligrams daily to help lower inflammation.
  • Vitamin B12: many diabetics seem to be low in this nutrient, which can worsen nerve damage.
  • Essential oils to help dull pain and lower inflammation, including peppermint, lavender, and frankincense.
It might take some time to see improvements, so be patient and try different combinations until you find relief.

7. Protect Your Skin and Feet: Make sure to monitor your symptoms and look for any signs of new nerve damage to your skin, feet, legs, or hands. Inspect yourself for any new signs of injuries, such as blisters, sores, and ulcers. Foot care and skin care are important parts of treatment and prevention for diabetic neuropathy, according to the American Diabetes Association.

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