Many people with diabetes suffer from peripheral neuropathy, which is sometimes called diabetic nerve pain. High blood sugar can damage nerves, causing pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands and feet. Although there are medications are available to treat the problem, they relieve only between 30 to 50 percent of the pain. However, there are other ways to help seniors to prevent or cope with diabetic nerve pain. Some of them are listed below.
Manage Blood Sugar Levels
Because peripheral neuropathy is caused by uncontrolled blood sugar, it stands to reason that managing blood sugar levels can prevent further damage. Research shows that reaching and maintaining target levels can reduce the chances of developing peripheral neuropathy by 60 percent. If your aging relative is having difficulty keeping their blood sugar under control, talk to a doctor about adjusting medication. Certain lifestyle changes will also help manage levels. Some changes the doctor may suggest are:
- Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Eating a healthy diet that contains plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Managing stress.
- Regular exercise.
Use Pain Killers
Over the counter pain killers, like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin, can help with some of the pain. However, talk to a doctor to make sure these medications won’t interfere with other drugs the senior is taking or lead to other health problems.
Take Care of Feet
The numbness associated with peripheral neuropathy can mean that your aging relative doesn’t notice when their feet are injured. Injuries, like cuts and blisters, may not heal well due to diabetes and can lead to serious infections and amputation. To prevent foot problems, feet should be washed and dried each day. Use lotion to keep the skin moisturized and make sure the older adult wears shoes that fit well.
Peripheral neuropathy is difficult to live with and can affect quality of life. This can lead to a range of emotions, including anger and depression. If you suspect your aging relative is depressed, talk to the doctor as depression can be treated. Relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga may also help. There are also support groups available for people who suffer from chronic pain.
Elderly care can also help older adults to deal with diabetic nerve pain. Elderly care providers can remind seniors to take medications to ease the pain. They can also offer assistance with daily foot care. Elderly care providers can wash and dry the older adult’s feet and apply lotion to them every day. Elderly care providers can also cook healthy meals that help to keep blood sugar levels under control.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Ashburn, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.