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The Link Between Diabetes and Neuropathy

When you have diabetes, it’s easy to consider it mainly a blood sugar problem. However, having consistently high numbers can cause widespread damage throughout your body, especially delicate structures like nerves.

While several things can cause nerve damage, the leading culprit is high blood sugar. And as many as half of people living with diabetes have this condition — known as diabetic neuropathy.

Dr. Jeffrey Glaser and Dr. John Zheng offer pain management solutions to help people living with neuropathy in Encino, California. However, they also want people with diabetes to understand their risk of this painful condition because it’s not inevitable.

In this blog post, the Glaser Pain Relief Center team explains the links between diabetes and neuropathy and how you can protect your nerves.

Diabetes and neuropathy

Most people understand that diabetes means the sugar in your blood is higher than normal. This substance, also known as glucose, gives your body energy.

Having more energy may seem like a good thing. However, high blood sugar causes serious problems. In fact, elevated numbers for a long period of time can harm everything in your body, from your eyes, kidneys, and heart to your skin, blood vessels, and nerves.

Nerves in your body have a crucial job. Think of your nervous system like an electrical panel — your nerves send the signals you need to feel sensations and move muscles. They even help you digest foods and regulate your heart rate.

When these structures sustain damage, it impacts their ability to send these messages. This leads to various symptoms and serious complications, such as:

Diabetic neuropathy can also cause uncomfortable symptoms, depending on the nerves affected. 

Unfortunately, diabetic neuropathy often occurs gradually, so a person may not realize there’s a problem until considerable damage exists.

Preventing diabetic neuropathy

Now for the good news. Diabetes may significantly increase your chances of neuropathy, but it doesn’t have to. You can delay — and even prevent — nerve damage from occurring.

The most important thing you can do is keep your blood sugar within its target range. That means monitoring your numbers, getting plenty of physical activity, following a healthy diet, and using medications as directed. You should also work closely with your doctor to ensure your treatment plan is keeping your blood sugar on track.

However, it’s important to note that approximately 1 in 5 Americans have diabetes but don’t know it. Another 8 in 10 have prediabetes but are unaware of it.

Remember, the longer you live with high blood sugar levels, the higher the risk of diabetic neuropathy.

For most people, the American Diabetes Association recommends having regular glucose screenings at age 35 and older. But your doctor can offer personalized guidance based on your individual risk factors for the condition.

Treating diabetic neuropathy 

For people living with diabetes who develop neuropathy, there’s still hope. Our pain management experts specialize in complex conditions, including nerve damage.

At Glaser Pain Relief Center, we have two primary goals for managing neuropathy: ease your symptoms, and keep nerve damage from worsening. We accomplish these goals with a variety of strategies.

One of our first lines of defense involves targeted blocks, nerve ablation, and regenerative medicine therapies. These targeted injections work in a variety of ways, from blocking pain signals to healing nerve damage.

In addition, we also offer medication management and implantable therapies, like spinal cord stimulation. SCS offers life-changing results for people with nerve pain because these devices change the signals going to the brain — a process known as neuromodulation. For some patients, these devices can significantly improve quality of life and decrease the need for pain medications.

Our team also recommends seeking treatment as early as possible for the best long-term management of neuropathy. You don’t have to struggle with your symptoms, and early interventions can keep the problem from worsening.

Do you have signs of diabetic neuropathy? Contact Glaser Pain Relief Center to learn about management strategies today.

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