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Diabetes Positive Approach, Issue #1106-- Cope with Diabetes; Live Healthy
June 07, 2011
Welcome to this month's issue where I will share with you the neuropathy treatment. Neuropathy happens only to 70% of diabetics so my hope is that my readers are spared from this. Knowing the background will put you on the safe side. Please forward this to someone who may need it badly.
As well, we have answered the question on the basic knowledge you need to have when the diagnosis is pre-diabetic. As Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people to get what they want.
In This Issue:
Diabetes can make one suffer from nerve damage or in short, neuropathy which happens to 70% of diabetics. There are different ways to treat it but what I want to beg you is to please try to prevent it from coming. How do we do this you asked? Well it is by managing the diabetes and following good foot care.
Managing the diabetes means making sure the blood sugar is under control. Eating healthy and exercising more will do it for some. For others they have to take medication. As for foot care, following preventative measures, suitable foot protection and regular examination of the foot will nip any possible problem in the bud before trouble starts.
Avoid high blood sugar or hyperglycemia as it can lead to emergencies like DKA (more common for type 1) and HHNS (more common for type 2 that could threaten life if not quickly treated. So make sure you monitor your blood sugar level by self-testing and monitor your body’s reaction to what you take and activity you engage in.
The same thing could be said for low blood sugar, hypoglycemia, as it could lead to a dangerous emergency so self-testing and monitoring the body reactions are the best ways to avoid this. This often happens to people who take insulin but can happen to both 1 and type 2 diabetic and can be caused by skipping meals, exercising without taking necessary precautions and by taking some oral medications.
The typical hypoglycemia threshold is 70 mg/dL or 3.9 mmol/1 but this could be lower or higher depending on the diabetic’s target range. If you see some of these symptoms like sweating, confusion, dizziness, erratic heartbeat, hunger, unexplained tiredness, shakiness and possible loss of consciousness, treat it right away with juice, glucose tablet, regular soda or any other fast-acting carbohydrates.
The risk to develop foot disease can be dramatically reduced with good foot care. And having neuropathy does not mean you’re headed to amputation land because with treatments we now have, we can fight neuropathy and win the battle because it can be improved, managed and even reversed so we can get on with our life as usual. So how do we treat it? Here are ways to do so.
1. Manage your blood sugar!
With proper blood sugar management, this is a diabetic complication that we can reverse. So as mentioned above, eating healthy to keep the blood sugar under control will help especially this is one complication that can be reversed. So what can you eat? This is a question that has good answers but sometimes confusing to people
There is really no such thing as diabetes diet for the best one is a diet that is healthy for everyone. You can eat most kinds of foods if you watch your portions. You also have to watch the glycemic index table as to the rating of the food you plan to eat, This way you can avoid the blood sugar highs and lows. We know that foods that release sugar rapidly have a high glycemic index while those that release sugar slowly have a low glycemic index.
Here are some foods with their corresponding glycemic rating:
Tomato Juice - 38
You can include most foods but watch the portions and how often you treat yourself. Remember that the main diabetes concern is to stabilize the blood sugar level. It really is a balancing act between what we eat and the blood sugar level. The good news is that it is not a life sentence.
Your feet may become more painful once you start trying to manage the blood sugar level. That means the nerves are beginning to work again and it should get better so hang in there. Don’t give up managing the blood sugar level as it will get worse if you stop the good work you have started.
2. Get Active. Exercising regularly will get the muscles toned while lack of exercise can make one weak. Make exercise a part of your daily life for it can help improve the blood sugar level. Not only that, for it can also benefit the heart and help maintain weight. It could be as simple as taking a walk but learn how to do it safely.
3. Take medications as prescribed. Changing lifestyle
by eating healthy and moving more are enough for some people but for others no matter how hard they try they still have difficulty getting the blood sugar under control. This is where diabetes medications come in for they can help increase the sensitivity to insulin, make absorption of carbohydrate better, decrease glucose output and stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin.
Some antidepressant drugs (amiltriptyline, venlafaxine) and the anticonvulsant drug and Neurontin (gabapentin) have not been approved by FDA but they have done well in clinical trials although I will not take them without my doctor’s order but Cymbalta and Lyrica have been prescribed.
4. Take oral treatments. Vitamins, alpha lipoid acid, evening primrose oil have been shown to improve the nerve function and help ease the pain. There are also over the counter drugs that can relieve the pain like aspirin, acetaminophen and other NSAIDs like naproxyn (Aleve) and ibuprophen (Motrin).
5. Use topical treatments. One topical treat that has helped is Capsaicin cream. It has relieved the pain but be careful not to rub it on irritated or broken skin as this comes from hot peppers that block pain signals. Even with healthy skin you could feel some burning for sometime before you feel some good from it.
Then there are lidocaine patches (Lidoderm, Lidopain), and nitrate sprays or patches that you can apply directly to your feet to help ease the pain. The lidocaine is not FDA-approved yet but has done well in clinical trials. But for any product, talk to the doctor to see what’s right for you for they can have side effects.
6. Some have nerve decompression surgery. For those who do not get relief from pain medication, nerve decompression surgery may be an option which is a kind of plastic surgery that relieves pressure on the nerve. The surgery lasts for less than two hours. The surgeons make a cut over the compressed nerve thus releasing the tight section through which the nerves pass.
As far as we can see, there has not been anyone who underwent this surgery to have developed ulceration or have had amputation. And within two weeks those who underwent this surgery have recommenced their mobility. There is a test to take before the surgery which is not covered by insurance but the surgery itself is covered at least while I am writing this.
7. Go through Anodyne Therapy which has been approved by FDA since 1994. This is infrared light therapy device to increase local circulation, reduce stiffness, muscle spasm and pain due to peripheral therapy which is a nerve disorder with symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness and perhaps loss of all sensation in the feet.
It is at present covered by Medicare in most areas but you have to go to a care center for the first treatment. There they will monitor your progress and record it. The insurance may then approve to continue the program at home which is usually for 10 to 24 sessions. However, significant progress has been reported after 10 to 12 treatments.
8. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulations (TENS) can help relieve the pain. You can do this with the use of a small machine that is operated by batteries. The machine connects two electrodes to the skin. What happens is that the machine sends tiny electrical impulses along exact nerve pathways through electric pads put on the skin. This may stop pain signals from reaching the brain. This can be done at home after getting an introduction and instruction. The pain relief may be short term and the long-term benefit has not been verified yet.
diabetic peripheral neuropathy
9. Alternative Treatments as well as complementary ones are available like physical therapy, acupuncture, supplements, a homeopathic remedy in Neuragen PN and massage. There is also biofeedback therapy that uses a machine to teach how to control the reaction to pain. Hydrotherapy and vitamin therapy have worked for some but talk to your health care team.
10. Preventing neuropathy by managing the diabetes and proper foot care is the best way to prevent this so go ahead improve and even reverse the condition by talking to your health care team for the best treatment for you.
3. A Success Quotation of the Month
"The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials."
–– Chinese proverb
4. And here’s the dessert recipe we promised you.
5. Let's laugh together at this joke even if it's not funny. Laughing will help get us healthy.
Boy Friend: Love, who are you looking at?
Girl Friend: Oh, that’s my ex. I heard he is now drinking a lot, a drunk really.
Boy Friend: How long ago did you break up?
Girl Friend: Seven years ago.
Boy Friend: Wow, that’s quite a long celebration.
6. Do you have a question or comment for the team?
Drop us a line at our contact form and write your questions or comment there.
Question: I had just been diagnosed as pre-diabetic. What basic overview should I know?
Answer: Pre-Diabetic appears to be a common diagnosis now as more and more people are diagnosed with this.
Those are alarming statistics so there has been an increase in plans and actions to educate to stop the alarming statistics. Especially now that more and more children are being diagnosed. It is clear that something has got to be done.
There are two types of diabetes, the type 1 and the type 2. Type 1 diabetes used to be known as juvenile diabetes because they appear in children and mostly young adults. This is caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone needed to change sugar, starch and other foods into energy.
Type 2 diabetes is when the body’s pancreas do not manufacture enough insulin or the cells just take no notice of the insulin. This is common among the elderly and certain ethnic groups. Genetics play a role but the most common cause is obesity.
Pre-diabetes can grow into diabetes if we do not heed the warning sign. You are lucky to get this now instead of the full-blown condition because you have a good chance of preventing diabetes by changing the life style. And that means to eat healthy and to move more.
Eat more fruits and vegetables, fish and foods that are low in fat. A healthy and balanced diet consists of 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% healthy fat. Avoiding foods high in fat like baked goods, shortening and fried foods and simple sugars such as ice cream, candy and cakes is a must.
Exercise for an active lifestyle is essential. It could just be walking around the neighbourhood or any other moderate activity for at half an hour a day, five times a week. Preventing it should be emphasized so know the risk factors
and work at changing the behaviour that will increase your risk of developing this condition.
7. Got something to say? Please write down your questions and comments in the contact form in our website.
Thank you for being a subscriber of Diabetes Positive Approach, ! Let us all join hands, virtually speaking, to continue giving more to each other. Let us help one another end all the negative thinking and action that are preventing us from getting what we want. We are capable of obtaining what we want especially in the category of health for we are all born to win!
Roger and Evelyn Guzman
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