Feb 22, 2011

How to prevent nerve damage caused by diabetes

Between 60-70 % of people who have diabetes will experience some sort of damage to their nerves due to prolonged periods of high blood glucose levels. While any nerve damage is dangerous, neuritis belongs to the category of severe nervous disorders and basically means any change in the state of the nerves resulting in weakness, loss of the reflexes and changes of sensation.

Neuritis can involve either a single nerve or a series of nerves however typically several different groups of nerves in various parts of the body may be involved.

There are two main types of neuritis: Optical and Peripheral.

Optic Neuritis is generally caused by a bacterial or viral infection and affects the optic (eye) nerve causing vision loss. Thankfully once the infection has been taken care through antibiotics or other method vision will return in 8 - 10 weeks. However, if the infection has gone untreated over a long period of time the damage to the optic nerve can become permanent.

For those who have Peripheral Neuritis damage occurs to nerves in the peripheral nervous system. Just like optic neuritis this can be caused by disease, illness, or injury. Unlike optic neuritis peripheral neuritis is usually not caused by bacteria or viral infections. Common causes of peripheral neuropathy are AIDS, diabetes, alcoholism, seizures, and nutritional imbalances. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are numbness, tingling, loss of balance, cramping, tiredness, itching, and tiredness.

If you find you are experiencing any of these symptoms and are in a high risk group, such as being diabetic, you should contact your physician immediately to have your situation checked out. If you do have neuropathy the most important task is to get to the root of the problem, which are your blood glucose levels.

Once your glucose levels are back in the normal level you may notice the symptoms fading; however, depending on the length of time and the amount of damage to the nerves some of the problems will never completely disappear.

If you are experiencing nerve pain you have a variety of options for treatment. These options are dependent on the severity of your condition and your symptoms.

Here are some options:
  • Discuss pain medication options with your physician. Currently Cymbalta and Lyrica are the only approved medications for diabetic neuritis yet there are huge varieties of topical ointments as well as over the counter pain medications that may be able to alleviate the pain.
  • For some people acupuncture has been proven to alleviate pain associated with neuritis.
  • Vitamin B-12 has been found to work but it is important to take it in limited doses as it can cause its own problems.
[...] Neuropathy is not to be taken lightly, it is an awful condition that affects thousands of people every year. You can lower your risk of Neuropathy by keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels close to the target numbers.

(Ezine Articles)
Photo: Chest of Books.
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