Medications only partially relieve pain. Typically, pain is reduced by 30 percent to 50 percent. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to lower cholesterol levels. Patients interested in using supplements should first discuss this with their doctor. There is some evidence that L-carnitine and alphalipoic acid help reduce pain.
What can I do to prevent or control diabetic neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy can be prevented or controlled. Monitoring your glucose level and adopting a healthy lifestyle can decrease your risk for neuropathy by as much as 60 percent.
Recommendations for Patients with Diabetes
• Get a foot examination at least once a year.
• Lose excess weight. Exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet. Buy a cookbook with recipes for diabetics.
• Limit alcohol use. Quit smoking.
• Keep your blood pressure under control. Monitor it daily.
• Examine your feet daily. Look for blisters, cuts, bruises, ingrown toenails and redness or swelling. Use a mirror to examine the bottoms of your feet.
• Keep your blood glucose level in the range recommended by your doctor. Regularly monitor your glucose level according to your doctor's recommendation.
• Get an A1C lab test twice a year. This test determines your average glucose level for the past two to three months.
• Get an eye examination annually. Your doctor may recommend frequent examinations.
• When complications occur, get treatment right away. Early treatment helps prevent additional complications.
• Protect your feet. If your feet are dry, use lotion, but not between your toes. Wear shoes and socks that fit well. Use warm water to wash your feet, and dry them carefully. Avoid exposing your feet to hot and cold temperatures.
• Use different shoes each day. Ask your doctor if you need special shoes. Avoid sandals, high heels and open toe shoes. Don't go barefoot.
• Be careful when exercising. Some activities are not safe for people with neuropathy. Talk with a diabetes specialist who can give you an exercise plan.
• Keep follow-up appointments even if your diabetes is well controlled.