Learn how to manage your diabetic neuropathy in the colder winter months.
Toes tingling? Fingers burning? Feet feeling numb? If you have diabetes and you're experiencing these symptoms, you may have peripheral neuropathy, a type of diabetic neuropathy, also known as nerve damage. It's likely your symptoms came on gradually or began mildly. While peripheral neuropathy can be problematic all year round, the winter cold can exacerbate symptoms and complications.
Peripheral neuropathy is a common condition among people with diabetes as it can be caused by prolonged periods of high blood sugar levels. It's especially prevalent among those who have managed the disease for twenty-five years or more. According to the National Institutes of Health, between sixty to seventy percent of people with diabetes have some form of neuropathy.
Cold weather causes the body to slow blood circulation to extremities in order to protect vital organs like the heart and brain. This reduced blood flow can increase neuropathy symptoms in the hands, feet, fingers, and toes.
Getting your blood sugar under control is the first step to managing neuropathy and preventing more serious symptoms. Complications of peripheral neuropathy can range from numb or painful extremities to infections and in severe cases, amputation. However, the good thing about peripheral neuropathy is that the symptoms can be managed, and there's a variety of ways to do so. Staying on top of your symptoms may help prevent further nerve damage.
Sometimes the best ways to manage symptoms are also the simplest. Keep neuropathy in check by taking a proactive role in your health.
If you can't feel your feet because of nerve damage you may not notice a cut, blister, or sore, which can lead to infection. Avoid these serious complications by staying one step ahead.
Managing your neuropathy symptoms can mean greatly improving your quality of life. It can also mean more restful nights, as pain and tingling can interfere with sleep. Symptom relief medications include:
Always check with your doctor or Rite Aid Pharmacist before taking any medication, even over the counter drugs.
By Joelle Klein
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Nerve Damage (Diabetic Neuropathies)
Wolters Kluwer, Patient Education: Diabetic Neuropathy (Beyond the Basics)
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.