Neuropathy, or damage to the nervous system, can have many causes. Nonetheless, neuropathy is a long-term complication of diabetes, which means it typically takes many years for neuropathy to develop. Nerve damage happens over time, due to prolonged exposure to the damaging affects of high blood glucose levels. The longer a person has diabetes, the higher the risk of developing neuropathy, especially if their disease is not controlled well.
Preventing or Reducing the Risk
Good glucose control, a balanced eating plan and exercise can help fend off neuropathy. But sometimes, as in Type 1, no matter how tight the control, how balanced the diet or how much exercise a person gets, neuropathy can strike simply because of the sheer length of time the person has had diabetes. Also, many times, people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes don’t even know they have the disease for many years. Much damage can occur during that time.
Treating Neuropathic Pain
For mild to moderate pain, Tylenol or NSAIDS, such as Motrin or Aleve might be prescribed. Some of the more common medications for neuropathic pain include tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) such as Elavil and Amitril. When TCAs are used to treat chronic pain, the dosage is much lower than for treating depression. certain medications (duloxetine hcl) is an SSRI, another kind of antidepressant medicine which shows success at treating both neuropathic pain and any underlying depression that also might exist.
Other Options for Treating Pain
Some antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) also are showing success at relieving neuropathic pain. meds and other medications are commonly prescribed AEDs. They work by reducing the frequency of pain signals that nerve cells send to the brain. Stronger narcotic pain relievers are sometimes used for moderate to severe pain that does not respond to other medications.
How to Cope
Occasionally neuropathy does not respond well to treatments for pain or it may get worse. For some people, it can lead to serious disability. If it hurts to walk, or if muscles are weak, it’s hard to perform the activities of daily living. Try to pace yourself. You should try to plan your activities ahead of time. Ask for help or support from family and friends.
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