How to Deal With Nerve Pain If You Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you know it well: Too much sugar isn’t good for you. People whose blood sugar is too high or difficult to control are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, eye problems and other complications, including nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy).
“High blood sugar is toxic to your nerves,” says Robert Bolash, MD, a specialist in Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Pain Management. “When a nerve is damaged, you may feel tingling, pins and needles, burning or sharp, stabbing pain.”
Diabetic neuropathy typically starts in your toes, feet or ankles and creeps up your body as the condition worsens, he says. However, nerve damage also can affect your hands and wrists as well as your heart, digestive system, sex organs and more.
How to avoid it
Up to 70 percent of people with diabetes have some kind of neuropathy, reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
“Anyone with diabetes can get nerve damage at any time,” says Dr. Bolash. “It’s most common in people whose blood sugar is poorly controlled and those who have had diabetes a long time.” According to the NIDDK, the highest rates of neuropathy are among people who have had diabetes 25 years or longer.
To avoid getting diabetic neuropathy, control your blood sugar, keeping it as close to nondiabetic levels as possible, advises Dr. Bolash.
Bad news, good news
The bad news about diabetic neuropathy is that it’s tough to reverse. It also can cause serious problems, especially in your feet. If you don’t feel blisters, sores or other f Continue reading