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What can be done to manage diabetic neuropathy?

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There is no known cure for diabetic neuropathy. Treatments are available for the management of diabetic neuropathy to1,2:

1. Slow nerve damageM1,2

  • Keeping blood sugar levels within your target range can prevent or delay the progression of the condition. This can also improve some existing symptoms
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Eat healthily
  • Exercise and stay active
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid alcohol or drink in moderation if you are allowed to drink
  • Good foot care is very important

2. Relieve pain1,3

  • Neuropathic pain does not normally respond to common painkillers, eg, paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • If necessary, your doctor will prescribe alternative medications to treat nerve pain. These are normally initiated at a low dose, and the dose is increased slowly until you feel better. if you feel side effets such as tiredness and dizziness, your doctor may reduce your dose, or change your medication if they persist. Many of these medications are also used for other conditions such as depression and epilepsy. Hence, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant for your nerve pain, even if you are not depressed
  • Alternative therapies include capsaicin cream, lidocaine plaster, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and acupuncture

3. Manage complications and restore function1,3

  • These include medications and treatments for nausea, vomiting, erectile dysfunction, bladder control
  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals and reducing fat in the diet can help with digestive problems
  • If you have low blood pressure on standing, avoid alcohol, drink enough water, and sit or stand slowly