Find out some measures that can help you to prevent the development of diabetic neuropathy.
Diabetic neuropathy is a common complication, which develops in people with diabetes. Everyone who has diabetes does not develop diabetic neuropathy though it is more common in people with poor blood sugar control. It can be prevented or its onset can be delayed by way of strict blood sugar control and a healthy lifestyle. Here are measures that can help you prevent the development and progression of diabetic neuropathy:
Maintain your blood sugar: Control of blood sugar within the target range is important to delay the progression of diabetic neuropathy. For those with intense blood sugar control, aim will be to maintain:
- Pre-prandial blood glucose (blood sugar level before meals) — 70 to 130 mg/dL (3.9 to 7.2 mmol/L).
- Post-prandial blood sugar (blood sugar level two hours after meals) — less than 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L).
- Hemoglobin A1C (marker for evaluation of long term blood sugar control) — less than 7 percent.
In addition to frequent blood sugar monitoring, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) gives a good indication about long term blood sugar control in diabetic patients. The risk of complications due to diabetes is known to be higher in people with high HbA1c levels. Your aim should be to maintain blood sugar and HbA1c levels as normal as possible. Experts say that HbA1C <6.3% is considered a very good glycemic control and between 6.3 and 7.1% is considered a good glycemic control. Some measures that can help one maintain the blood sugar and HbA1C level within the target range include regular follow up with the doctor and taking medications as recommended.
Regular foot care: Foot care as advised by your doctor can prevent a small infection from getting worse. Complications of diabetic neuropathy such as foot sores that don't heal, chronic foot ulcers and even amputation can be prevented by having a regular foot exam and taking good care of the feet at home.
Eat healthy: Diet for people with diabetes should include food with low glycemic index such as whole grain food products, fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed, fatty and foods with simple carbohydrates. Your doctor can advise you more regarding the kind of food that should be taken or avoided.
Exercise regularly: Sedentary lifestyle makes one’s efforts to control blood sugar more difficult. Regular physical activity or exercise for about 30 minutes on most days of the week can help one decrease insulin resistance, reduce weight and improve blood sugar control. Do any exercise that you like and can easily do on a daily basis.
Medications: Taking medications for blood sugar control as advised by your doctor is important to maintain blood sugar within the target range. If your blood sugar readings become normal, do not stop taking medications. Take all your medications regularly and do not make changes without consulting your doctor.
Avoid smoking and limit alcohol: Studies have shown that smoking alcohol increases the risk of complications including diabetic neuropathy.
These are some measures to prevent diabetic neuropathy. Your doctor can advise you better on measures that can help you prevent or delay the onset of diabetic neuropathy and foot care.
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