Neuropathy

I had my endo appointment this morning and she told me she thinks I have the beginning stages of diabetic neuropathy. I know very, VERY little about it…quite honestly because I didn’t think I’d have a problem with it for many years to come. I have good sugar control, I was dx’d almost 5 years ago, and I’m only 23.

What slows it down? How do I best take care of it? She didn’t prescribe any medications b/c I haven’t started to feel pain yet, I just have numbness/tingling. But, from what I gathered, there’s no treatment, just pain medication when I start to feel pain.

Thank you! ANY information will be helpful!

The best way to slow down neuropathy (& sometimes reverse it) is to get better control of your BG. Do what you can to lower your A1c. More exercise, lower carb intake & fine tuning your insulin doses are ways to help get there.

I often give workshops to diabetes support groups on this subject. One specific piece of advice that I can offer is to try a product called OmegaForce which has been formulated to benefit the major areas of issue with diabetics (these being increased risk of cardiovascular problems and nerve damage).
Fatty acid supplements can reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both of which are often elevated in diabetes. But with reference to your query, there is increasing evidence that taking EPA, the fatty acid found in fish oils has specific benefits for those who suffer from neuropathy, by helping to repair and stabilise the fatty sheath that covers and insulates the nerve. You might be interested in reading this article to find out more info on how and why certain fats can help.

Ashley,

No fear, am in the same boat. My endo told me the same thing before like 2 years or so. What I did is try to control my BG the best and did more exercise that uses my arms and legs more, it helps [I believe]!

Hope this was beneficial to you

Al

I’m in the same boat as Al with this. I was diagnosed with the beginnings of neuropathy after years of very poor control. I have had no progression in symptoms or severity because I work hard to maintain a good a1c now. I have also started exercising. Talk to your nutritionist about food choices and supplements too, this is a part of care that we sometimes forget about. I get better control with eating less carbs than I did in the past but I do not eat low carb, I just make smarter food choices.

Ummm, what exactly was your doc trying to convey if she didn’t provide answers to your questions?! Your A1C looks pretty good, so it seems your blood glucose control is on target.

Don’t freak out! People can have the “beginning stages of diabetic neuropathy” and live happily for decades without pain. The advice about controlling blood glucose levels is right on. As is frequent exercise to keep circulation pumping.

Also, make sure that your doc uses monofilaments or other method to test sensation in your feet at every office visit (take off your shoes and socks as a reminder). This will help you track any progression in the condition.

Unfortunately, often when one diabetes complication starts to become visible, there is other microvascular damage going on. Do you have a dilated eye exam once a year? If your nerves are being affected by high blood sugars, it’s likely the small vessels in your eyes are also showing some damage (in fact, this is the only place in the body where a doc can SEE damage). Again, you can halt and delay progression of eye damage by controlling blood sugars. And laser surgery is very effective should problems need to be fixed that way. Finally, your urine should be tested annually for microalbumin, an early sign of kidney disease.

I can’t give you the scientific evidence to support this, but someone else on this site mentioned that she takes B-12 and it helps her tremendously. I’ve just started taking it and it does seem to make a difference. I’ve only got the tingling and numbness at this point.

Thanks everyone! It’s just frustrating because my A1c is 6.5, I work out regularly, and I was only diagnosed 5 years ago. But, I’ll try to be better about taking my fish oil and vitamin b supplements and eating less carbs…hopefully that will help. :slight_smile:

You can do it!

An A1c of 6.5 is an average BG of 140–too high. Most doctors say that’s ok, but the closer to normal BG the better for all your parts.

When I was in raging neuropathic pain in my calves, my doctor prescribed me Cymbalta, which is an anti-depressant that apparently is also used to treat neuropathy pain. They also sent me to a place that did “stim”-therapy - have you ever been to a chiropractor who sticks little electrodes on your back and sends energy through them? This place did exactly that but on my calves. I would sit in a recliner and let the electrodes stimulate the muscles in my legs - it was like exercise for the muscles but without the pain I would feel from actually exercising.

I was also diagnosed in my later teen years (i was seventeen) and I’m now 25. We may have a lot in common there. My advice for warding off the crazy leg pain is to keep kickin’ butt on your blood sugar numbers and add as many walking steps to your day as you can. Exercising and glucose control are the best preventions.

wow. This is some great information. Thank you!

wow. That’s scary. My doc said 7.0 A1c was ok for me.

That sounds like a TENS unit. They are used to treat pain although the effectiveness varies quite widely from person to person. Neuropathic pain treatment is one of it’s uses. There is close relation, the EMS unit, which works the same way but is designed to stimulate muscles rather than block pain and is used by some physiotherapists to repair muscle damage and strains. I’ve used an EMS unit but not a TENS and it’s a distinctly odd sensation.

I have been diabetic for 40 years. I was diagnosed with neuropathy 10 years ago. To tell you the truth, I did not noticed it until my hands began to get really cold. I was doing biofeedback for a back injury, and the sensors picked up that my hand temp was 2 degrees lower than my body’s. However, although they (drs) noticed it, they did not diagnosed it at the time…my feet followed and then, one day, I was dancing and when I finished, I could not walk from the sofa to my bedroom. By the time we (the doctors and me), I had developed polyneuropathies (focal, autonomic and peripheral). I was given nortrypillin, neurontin and motrin to deal with the focal and the peripheral, and reglan for the autonomic (digestive system). I take medication for this condition every 3-4 hours of the dot. What surprises me about yours is that it has happened so early in the “game.” Like I said, I’ve been diabetic for a long time. Some of the neuropathies are intermittent (they feel like they come and go). Others, are there for a while (I haven’t been able to get rid of the focal which is present on my rib cage). We are all different, so it may manifest different on you.

From what I read, controlling the sugars delays the progression and, in some cases, it may stop it. I exercise and, since exercise triggers the production of dopamine and endorphines, one gets a feeling of well-being and pain relief. But, I’ve had to pace myself because it tends to also overstimulate the nerves. I agree that you should check your eyes and kidneys on a yearly basis and “listen” to your body in terms of the neuropathy. Get all the info that you can from WebMD or other sources. Again, all of our experiences are different and what we suggest may work for us, but maybe, not for you. So get informed…

My best to you, Marie

Marie, I also have neuropathy and it has affected my digestion which I guess is what has caused me to have big blood sugar swings. For ten years I had no problem controlling the blood sugar and had a 6 a1c. Then I started having extreme lows and highs. Have you had that problem? If so, did the reglan make your after-meal blood sugar predictable so that now your blood sugar is pretty even?

is it possible this is a false positive? i’m guessing it would be pretty easy to confuse vague pain as neuropathy when it might be something else (joint issues, for instance?) your numbers look good; you’re only 5 years in; it might be worth a second opinion.
but the the others are right … lots of exercise, watch you’re diet and keep your BGs in order. i’ve been T1 for 50 years and have zero complications. but … i have lots of pain because of some hard, hard living but it’s all connected to aging knees and hips.

It might sound strange but you may want to look into doing Tai Chi. As I get older I’m struggling with control but I haven’t had any diabetes health related issues in my 20 years. I think it has to do with me practicing Tai Chi and it’s internal health benefits. It helps with blood circulation and muscle and nerve usage. My BG is always better after I have trained!

I also have the beginning of diabetic neuropathy in my feet (numb, tingling, sometimes pain) and was only diagnosed in September. It doesn’t take that long for nerve damage, but she (endo) told me getting the BG down would help the symptoms and it does.

I would have to side with you. though a good A1C is an excellent way to judge your care, you can NOT lump it all into the same category and assume everyone can achieve the same numbers.

Again, a good A1C is a good A1C… I just think if you try and do not succeed to get the A1C to go down, you need not abandon all hope! You need to do your best and be happy, that will save your nerve endings the most in the end. :slight_smile:

My T1.5 diagnosis a year ago was only because of neuropathy - I lost feeling in my fingers. I’ve been on Bernstein for 6 months or so and have an A1C of 5.2. The neuropathy in my hands seems to be mostly resolved now.

Bernstein says that high sugars are the cause of neuropathy, and he believes it can often be stopped/reversed with normalized BG.

Did I understand you right? Your endo recommends waiting for it to worsen, then supply drugs to control it? That certainly is not a nice message to hear. You have my sympathy - losing feeling is not pleasant and the thought of being on pain medication for life is equally troubling. I wish you all the best with it.