If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, your primary care provider has likely mentioned preventing peripheral neuropathy as part of their proposed treatment plan.
As a common side effect of chronically elevated blood sugar levels, peripheral neuropathy, unfortunately, affects nearly 50% of all people living with diabetes. As a debilitating progressive condition that can inhibit a person’s ability to participate in their daily routine, learning how to prevent and slow the progression of peripheral neuropathy is essential for living a healthy lifestyle with diabetes.
Here is everything you should know about peripheral neuropathy, including our top tips for reducing your risk of developing the condition.
What causes peripheral neuropathy?
To understand how to prevent and manage peripheral neuropathy, we must first explain what the condition is and what causes the symptoms to develop. Peripheral neuropathy (also referred to as diabetic neuropathy) is a neurological condition that primarily impacts the sensation and motor function of the peripheral limbs. Often felt in the feet, ankles, and lower extremities, peripheral neuropathy results from nerve damage caused by chronic exposure to elevated blood sugar levels. Generally speaking, the longer a person lives with high blood glucose levels (often caused by poorly controlled diabetes), the higher their risk of developing profound peripheral neuropathy symptoms.
Depending on the extent of damage to the nervous system, patients with peripheral neuropathy can experience a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Tingling or burning sensations
- Hypersensitivity and pain
- Discoloration and poor circulation
- Feet that are cold to the touch
- Increased risk for infections
- Profound tissue injuries and eventual cellular death
It is important to note that while it is common for people with diabetes to experience peripheral neuropathy, it is considered a preventable condition. By remaining compliant with your treatment plan and adding healthy habits into your daily routine, it is possible for those with diabetes to greatly reduce their risk of experiencing any form of neuropathy throughout their lifetime.
How to prevent peripheral neuropathy - 5 tips
We all know that prevention is the best treatment for any disease — and this ideology applies to peripheral neuropathy.
As a secondary condition commonly associated with poorly managed diabetes, there are many healthy habits that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to significantly reduce your risk of experiencing any adverse complications. Additionally, patients interested in peripheral neuropathy prevention are more likely to manage better their overall health, which can help reduce their risk of experiencing a wide variety of other issues like high blood pressure, kidney disease, and more.
- Incorporate foot care into your daily routine
While this may seem counterintuitive if you have never experienced peripheral neuropathy, regularly checking in on the health of your feet is essential for noticing the development of any early symptoms. Suppose you notice blisters, calluses, or open wounds on your feet. In that case, we highly recommend talking to your primary healthcare provider to adjust your treatment plan to reduce your risk of developing more profound symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet
For anyone living with diabetes, paying close attention to what you eat is essential for keeping your blood sugar levels stable. Depending on your dietary needs, limiting your consumption of processed carbohydrates and foods with added sugars is a great way to prevent aggressive spikes in your blood glucose levels, reducing your risk of experiencing nerve damage and neuropathy.
- Regularly check your blood sugar levels
Recommended as part of most diabetic care plans, checking your blood sugar levels on a daily basis is one of the best ways to ensure that you aren't exposing your organs to dangerous amounts of glucose. Depending on your needs, we recommend that people with diabetes check their blood sugar levels at least once a day, preferably more if they experience significant changes in their glucose levels throughout the day.
- Massage your feet and lower extremities
Great for encouraging improved blood circulation and also for pampering your feet, foot massages are as good for your health as they are for your relaxation. Able to be done by a loved one or yourself, massaging your feet is an action that stimulates increased blood flow to the area, which in turn can be used as a helpful intervention for preventing peripheral neuropathy. We recommend this routine at least once or twice a day (or as tolerated) to maximize the health benefits of this practice.
- Wear comfortable and non-restrictive diabetic socks
Designed to offer comfort and support to your feet, high-quality, non-binding diabetic socks like the ones available from Viasox are an excellent option for anyone interested in peripheral neuropathy prevention. These socks Stretch to accommodate a calf circumference of 30 inches without creating painful sock marks and offer plenty of health benefits, including improving overall circulation, providing additional padding to commonly injured areas, and powerful antimicrobial properties.
Managing peripheral neuropathy symptoms with Viasox
When managing or preventing peripheral neuropathy, finding ways to incorporate healthier habits into your daily routine is an incredibly effective treatment option. Being proactive about preventing the development of symptoms or stopping the condition from worsening is the best form of treatment for peripheral neuropathy.
At Viasox, we pride ourselves on offering high-quality products designed to be seamlessly integrated into your lifestyle. As the leading provider of fun and fashionable diabetic socks worldwide, our team at Viasox would love to help you find the perfect pair (or two) to add to your foot care routine.
For more information about our current selection of diabetic socks available for purchase online, please feel free to reach out to our team today. We look forward to hearing from you!