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What Every Diabetic Needs to Know to Prevent Nerve Damage

What Every Diabetic Needs to Know to Prevent Nerve Damage

As many as 50% of people with diabetes experience peripheral neuropathy diabetic nerve damage in the feet. As foot and ankle specialists, it’s one of the problems we see most often here at our Advanced Foot & Ankle Center offices throughout Utah.

Our team of specialists believes that knowledge and education are integral parts of managing diabetic nerve damage. We take time to explain your disease, how it leads to nerve damage, and everything else you need to know about managing neuropathy.

We’re also big believers in preventive care,  so we decided that our January blog should talk about what every diabetic needs to know to prevent nerve damage. Here are the top tips we recommend to our patients. 

Manage your blood sugar

Consistently high blood sugar harms your nerves and vascular system. This is what leads to nerve damage, which comes with problems like pain, tingling, and numbness. 

Nerve and vascular damage also intersect to cause non healing wounds that require diabetic wound care and could lead to amputation if left untreated.

But, managing your blood sugar efficiently can prevent all these problems. We strongly recommend working closely with your medical doctor or diabetes specialist (endocrinologist) to take control of your blood sugar. 

Depending on the type of diabetes and your blood sugar levels, you could need a variety of approaches to control your blood sugar levels. 

Lifestyle changes, especially diet and exercise, are vitally important because they can help lower blood sugar and reduce your risk of nerve damage. Exercise can also stimulate circulation to your legs and feet, which further helps stop nerve and vascular damage. 

In addition, your doctor may prescribe medication if diet and exercise are not adequate to control your blood sugar (or if you have Type 1 diabetes, which is always insulin-dependent). 

So, you may need oral medication (such as metformin) or insulin injections. 

Get regular foot health checkups

Getting regular foot checkups is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent nerve damage. The American Diabetes Association recommends comprehensive foot exams at least once a year

During foot exams, our team checks your feet for signs of vascular and nerve damage. It’s also a good time to discuss any symptoms you’ve been having, such as numbness, tingling, pain, or wounds that won’t heal. 

Foot checkups can detect potential problems early, even before they cause any symptoms, so we can help you take steps to stop nerve damage from developing or worsening.

Manage foot care at home 

Foot care starts in our Advanced Foot & Ankle Center offices, but we always tell our patients that home foot care is vital, too. Some of the tips we recommend for our diabetic patients are:

Being proactive about your foot health can help you detect the signs of nerve and vascular damage early. 

Even a seemingly minor foot issue, like a slow-healing blister, could potentially become an ulcer and grow serious quickly, so don’t wait to reach out to us so we can get a jump on your treatment and prevent complications. 

Need to schedule your diabetic foot exam or have a few questions about how to prevent nerve damage? We’re here for you anytime, so call our nearest office or contact us online now.

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