Mediaplanet: What is diabetic neuropathy?
Andy Mandell: Neuropathy affects approximately 70 percent of all diabetics with slight to excruciating pain. Neuropathy is a mix (often simultaneously) of the following: pain (shooting, dull, throbbing), burning sensation, numbness, tingling and itching.
MP: How were you able to manage your peripheral neuropathy while on the 10,000 mile Wake Up and Walk Tour?
Credit: Dana Stulce
AM: When the pain would become severe, I would take a few minutes to stretch the affected areas; I could then continue for another mile or so before having to repeat that process. At the end of the day, prescription pain meds were often required to sleep.
The prevalence of leg ulceration is slightly higher in the older adult population. Peak prevalence is between 60 and 80 years.
MP: How is diabetic neuropathy treated?
AM: Neuropathy is best treated by maintaining proper glucose levels. This is done by following a strict regimen of medical oversight (endocrinologist), proper nutrition and exercise. Glucose levels should be measured multiple times daily and an A1C test administered every 3 months. Symptoms may require prescription medication(s).
Credit: Russ Barriger
MP: Are there any new treatments or tools coming available to patients to help them manage the pain?
AM: Pain medication is a common treatment though capsaicin cream and lidocaine patches may provide some relief. New studies show nitrate sprays or patches, evening primrose oil, acupuncture, biofeedback, physical therapy, magnetic therapy and laser or light therapy may be helpful.
Ulcerations associated with diabetes are the most common cause of foot ulcers. Approximately 15 percent of people with diabetes will develop foot ulceration during their lifetime.
MP: What tips do you have for diabetics who have been recently diagnosed or are currently suffering from diabetic neuropathy?
AM: Change your lifestyle, immediately! ASAP get to an endocrinologist. This specialist will coordinate a proper regimen of nutrition and exercise designed for you. Get your family involved with your treatment.
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November 22, 2013