Diabetic Neuropathy - Home Treatment
In addition to having regular medical
checkups, the best way to avoid the progression of
diabetic neuropathy is to control your blood sugar,
take good care of your feet, and practice wise health habits.
Control your blood sugar level
The single most important step you can take
to prevent the development and progression of diabetic neuropathy is to keep
your blood sugar level (A1c) consistently within a tightly controlled and narrow
Keeping your blood sugar
level within the target range also helps decrease your chances of getting other
complications from diabetes, such as eye disease and kidney problems. For more
information, see the topic
Type 1 Diabetes: Living With the Disease or
Type 2 Diabetes.
Take care of your feet
Diabetic neuropathy affects
the feet more often than any other part of the body. Diabetes interferes with
your body's ability to fight infection, so that even a minor foot injury such
as a blister, a scratch, or
athlete's foot can lead to serious infections or
amputation. But serious foot problems are the most preventable complications of
Because the nerve damage caused by diabetic neuropathy
may make you less likely to notice minor problems with your feet, it is wise to
inspect your feet every day. Protect them from injury by wearing properly
fitted shoes and socks at all times. Woolen socks are the softest and can help prevent minor injuries. If vision problems from
diabetic retinopathy or another eye disease make it
hard for you to examine your feet, have someone help you.
For more information, see:
- Diabetes: Taking Care of Your Feet.
If you have severe numbness, a history of skin sores, or
bone and joint deformities (such as
Charcot foot), you may benefit from custom-fitted
shoes. Medicare and some health insurance plans will pay for these shoes if
they are needed.
Practice wise health habits
Many doctors believe
that you can further reduce your risk of getting severe neuropathy if
- See your doctor regularly. Your doctor will be able to note any changes in your health
more easily when you plan regular visits. It will be easier for you and your
doctor to find problems early and to take care of them right away.
- Exercise regularly and stay at a healthy weight. Exercise and weight control can help your body use insulin
better. This helps keep your blood sugar level within a tightly controlled and
narrow target range, which may help prevent the development and progression of
nerve damage. Talk to your doctor and have a thorough exam of your feet before
starting an exercise program. Foot problems, blood pressure problems, or
certain other problems linked to neuropathy may raise unique
concerns about exercising safely, such as whether you
should avoid repetitive, weight-bearing exercises.
- Limit your alcohol intake. Having four or more drinks a week
may make neuropathy and its symptoms worse.
- Eat a balanced diet. Consider taking a
daily multivitamin to ensure that you are meeting your nutritional needs. A
balanced diet can also help you maintain a healthy weight. If you have
gastroparesis, eat several small meals a day instead
of three regular meals.