Diabetic neuropathy is a disorder which can develop in diabetic individuals over time. It is characterized by nerve damage, that can occur in a particular area of the body or all throughout the body. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, around 60 to 70 percent of the diabetic population develops neuropathy at some point in time. The incidence of diabetic neuropathy is higher in individuals who suffer from diabetes for more than 25 years. Diabetics who have high blood fat level, high blood pressure, poor control over their blood sugar level, and are overweight, are also prone to develop neuropathy.
Factors Resulting in Diabetic Neuropathy
- High blood sugar level
- Long duration of diabetes
- Low insulin levels
- High content of fat in blood
- Nerve inflammation
- Hereditary factors
- Damage to blood vessels that supply blood to nerves
- Lifestyle factors like alcohol consumption and smoking
Diabetes makes the life of an individual quite difficult. Developing another disorder along with it further increases the difficulty of such individuals. To avoid this, diabetic patients must adopt a few things to minimize the risk of developing diabetic neuropathy in the long run.
Tips to Prevent Diabetic Neuropathy
Learn about It
Diabetic patients run the risk of developing this disorder. Therefore, it is necessary for them to learn how this disorder can affect their lives, the symptoms associated with it, and what can be done to prevent it. Having the knowledge of these things will help them in identifying neuropathy, and taking necessary steps to prevent it too.
Detect Diabetes Early
Diabetes is a precursor of diabetic neuropathy. Early detection of diabetes in an individual will help in early control of blood sugar levels, which in turn will reduce the chances of developing neuropathy in the body. The disorder generally occurs after several years of diabetes. Taking control of it at an early stage is the best way to deal with both the conditions.
Control Blood Sugar Level
Individuals with very high blood glucose levels are more prone to develop neuropathy. Therefore, keeping a stringent check on sugar levels of the blood is very essential. Blood sugar levels must be maintained within the normal range to remain healthy, without being worried of developing another complication.
Being overweight is also a risk factor for developing neuropathy in diabetic individuals. Exercising helps in reducing excess weight, promoting nerve cell regeneration, and maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
Diabetic neuropathy is common in the feet. It results in loss of sensation in the area, due to which a small cut, blister or an injury may remain unnoticed. Regular foot inspection aims to find whether such instances indicating neuropathy are occurring in a diabetic person. Besides regular inspection, annual foot inspection by the diabetes team must also form a part of the routine.
Wear Comfortable Footwear
People with diabetes, specially high-risk individuals, must wear comfortable footwear. It must not be too tight or too loose for the feet. Leather and canvas are good options for the feet as they are flexible in nature. Walking shoes are also a comfortable option for a diabetic person's feet.
Follow a Daily Care Routine for the Feet
The feet must be taken care of, to decrease the chances of developing neuropathy in the feet. They must be washed regularly with lukewarm water, and a moisturizer must be applied to prevent dryness and cracking. Toe nails must be cut regularly to avoid ingrown nails.
Regulate Life Pattern
Diabetics must regulate their life pattern by getting up early and going to bed at the right time. By doing so, they not only maintain a healthy lifestyle, but also improve glycometabolism, which is good for the prevention of this disorder.
Maintain a Balanced Diet
A proper diet plan is essential to maintain a steady blood sugar level. Foods rich in salt, sugar and saturated fats must be avoided, and ones with high fiber, vitamins and minerals must be included in the diet. Getting a proper diet chart prepared by a dietitian will be helpful in following a diet that is capable of maintaining normal levels of blood glucose.
Diabetic neuropathy is a serious complication associated with diabetes. Therefore, diabetics must take special care of themselves to prevent it from occurring. Apart from following what is mentioned above, consult a physician who can recommend better ways of preventing this chronic disorder in diabetic individuals.