Healthy Living

Managing Diabetic Neuropathy: What Patients Need to Know

Treatments are meant to relieve nerve pain and restore their function

Treatments are designed to slow the progression of the disease, relieve pain, manage complications and restore function.

Keeping your blood sugar within your target range is the most important thing you can do to delay or prevent damage. Make a note of your best target range based on your age, how long you have had diabetes, and your overall health.

The American Diabetes Association generally recommends you to stick to these target blood sugar levels:

  • Between 80 and 130 mg/dL before meals
  • Less than 180 mg/dL two hours after meals.

To prevent neuropathy, you have to make sure that your blood pressure is under control and that you maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight.

One of the most distressing symptoms of neuropathy as well is the pain. Some prescriptions can help with nerve pain, but they have side effects and are not useful for everyone. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and side effects before taking any pain medications.

Your doctor may also prescribe anti-seizure drugs. Sometimes medications that are used to treat seizures can ease nerve pain. However, watch for the side effects, they can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and swelling.

Antidepressants can disrupt the chemical process in your brain that helps you feel pain. Tricyclics may provide relief for mild pain, and side effects are dry mouth, sweating, weight gain, constipation, and dizziness.

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors can ease the pain, and these medications have fewer side effects. The American Diabetes Association recommends duloxetine or Cymbalta as a treatment.