One of the more painful side effects of diabetes is diabetic neuropathy. High blood sugar levels cause nerve damage that leads to numbness, burning, and pain in the limbs. Out of all the body parts, the feet are most affected because that's where blood circulation tends to be poorest in diabetic individuals. If you're suffering from diabetic neuropathy in your feet, here are a couple of tips for alleviating it.
In addition to cutting out excess sugar and getting plenty of exercise, adding certain nutrients and supplements to your diet can help reduce diabetic neuropathy pain and slow the progression of the disease. One such nutrient is alpha lipoic acid (ALA). This antioxidant is manufactured by the body but is also available as a supplement.
Studies into ALA have shown it's very effective at regulating blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity. As an antioxidant, ALA repels free radicals that damage the body, and researchers believe this action also reduces diabetic nerve pain in people who took 600mg of the supplement.
Vitamin D is another helpful nutrient. Studies found that people who experienced diabetic neuropathy pain also has low levels of this vitamin and that getting adequate amounts of vitamin D reduced symptoms. The body will manufacture this vitamin if you get enough sunlight; otherwise, you can get vitamin D from fatty fish, fortified foods, cheese, and egg yolks. It's also available as a supplement.
Check with your doctor before using these products to ensure it is safe for you to do so. ALA can reduce blood sugar levels, for instance, and the doctor may need to make adjustments in you insulin medication to compensate.
Get Some Exercise
When your feet hurt, the last thing you want to do is exercise. However, getting exercise on a regular basis can have a positive impact on your condition in a couple of ways.
First, exercise can help you control your blood sugar levels by reducing insulin insensitivity. Second, studies indicate that regular exercise can slow the progression of the disease. In one study, participants who walked four hours a week on a treadmill slowed down the nerve damage to their bodies.
Third, exercise alleviates stress, which can also lessen your perception of pain. Pain tends to seem worse than it actually is when you're stressed out. When you're relaxed, you may be able to tolerate the discomfort from diabetic neuropathy better.
To learn more about treatment options for diabetic neuropathy in the feet or to discuss other issues you may be experiencing with your feet, contact a podiatrist like those at Advanced Foot Clinic.