More than 37 million Americans have diabetes, a metabolic condition that changes the way your body processes sugar. It’s a chronic condition that can cause a range of other health issues, and one of the most common complications is neuropathy.
Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that causes symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, and loss of function. Without proper care, it can increase your risk of serious complications like slow-healing wounds and can even lead to amputation.
Fortunately, proactive care can help manage your discomfort and reduce your risk of more serious issues. Dr. Maher Ibrahim is a pain management specialist, and he works with our team at Interventional Pain Management Associates to help you understand your risks and protect your health.
Here’s why people with diabetes are more prone to neuropathy and what you can do to relieve your symptoms.
The main reason why diabetes increases the risk of neuropathy is because high blood sugar levels can damage nerves over time. Diabetes interferes with your body’s ability to process sugar, which means your blood sugar can easily become elevated.
When your blood sugar levels are too high, your nerves can’t transmit signals as well — and symptoms can worsen over time. This leads to numbness, tingling, and nerve pain.
Chronic high blood sugar can also cause damage to the blood vessels that supply oxygen and other nutrients to your nerves. This can accelerate nerve damage and make it even harder for your nerves to function properly. As a result, people with diabetes are more likely to experience neuropathy than people who don’t have it.
Having diabetes is the biggest risk factor for diabetic neuropathy, but some people are at higher risk than others. Your risk goes up the longer you have diabetes, especially if your diabetes isn’t well-managed.
Being overweight or obese can make diabetes harder to manage and increase your risk of developing neuropathy complications. Finally, smoking also contributes to blood vessel and nerve damage in your body, which also increases your risk of neuropathy.
If you have diabetes, it’s important to start a diabetes management plan to control your blood sugar and protect your health. Proactive diabetes management is the best way to lower your risk of neuropathy and related complications.
If you already have neuropathy, there’s a lot you can do to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Dr. Ibrahim and our team work with you to develop a comprehensive plan that can help you:
Depending on your situation, we may recommend medication to help manage the symptoms of neuropathy or topical treatments like creams or gels to aid in pain relief. We partner with your diabetes care team to help you find an effective treatment that’s right for you.
Neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes, but it doesn’t mean that pain is inevitable. Get answers and learn more about your treatment options at Interventional Pain Management Associates in Hamilton, New Jersey. Call our office at 609-838-2900 or send us a message online to get started.