Diabetic Neuropathy Risks and Treatment Options

Diabetic Neuropathy Risks and Treatment Options

In people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, long-term cases of high blood sugar levels create health and wellness risks. Among the potential complications of diabetes, peripheral diabetic neuropathy can become a serious problem.

At Alpenglow Pain & Wellness, interventional pain management specialist Dr. Nichelle C. Renk treats patients with conditions like peripheral diabetic neuropathy from her state-of-the-art office in Anchorage, Alaska.

Here’s what she wants you to know about the risks of diabetic neuropathy, and what you can do in terms of prevention and treatment for this painful condition that affects your hands, arms, feet, and legs.

What is diabetic neuropathy?

Diabetes damages your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar levels. As the amount of blood sugar remains high over months and years due to diabetes, negative effects on your body start to appear. One of these potential effects is diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetic neuropathy develops when your blood sugar level remains elevated over the long term and starts to cause nerve damage. The condition, which can become serious, typically builds gradually over time as your nerves wear down under the onslaught of high levels of glucose (blood sugar). 

Peripheral diabetic neuropathy affects your hands and feet first, then progresses to your arms and legs.

Watch out for warning signs of diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Symptoms may include tingling, pain, numbness, or weakness in your hands or feet. You may also experience related issues with your digestive system, urinary tract, or even your heart health. Talk to Dr. Renk about any symptoms of concern.

If your diabetic neuropathy progresses, you could lose sensation in your hands and feet, putting you at risk of ulcers, infected injuries, and even amputations.

Diabetic neuropathy treatment and prevention

Diabetic neuropathy affects as many as half of all patients living with diabetes. You may be able to keep yourself out of that group by using prevention strategies, starting with successfully managing your blood sugar.

Dr. Renk also offers effective treatment options if you’ve developed diabetic neuropathy. You may be able to benefit from treatments and therapies. They include:

Medications and supplements

Medications can control your diabetes and manage your blood sugar, while supplements like vitamin B-12 support your whole-body health and address nutrient deficiencies. Talk to Dr. Renk about potential deficiencies in your diet that could be addressed with supplements, improving your blood sugar regulation and reducing your risks of diabetic neuropathy.

Spinal cord stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS), an effective tool for managing chronic pain delivered via an epidural procedure, has been shown to work on pain syndromes related to peripheral neuropathy and can provide long-term relief. 

If this treatment is right for you, Dr. Renk implants a device that delivers a low level of electricity directly into your spinal cord, disrupting pain signals and preventing them from reaching your brain. 

SCS can free you from persistent diabetic neuropathy pain. Dr. Renk uses the Senza® System by Nevro, with a unique 10 kHz stimulation level, recently becoming the only spinal cord stimulation system to be approved by the FDA as a treatment for diabetic neuropathy pain.

Qutenza

Qutenza®, a revolutionary topical medication treatment based on capsaicin, can provide up to three months of pain relief for patients with neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy of the feet. 

Dr. Renk applies a topical anesthetic, then applies Qutenza cream to your skin in the treatment area, leaving the cream on for 30 minutes before wiping the area clean. Qutenza can be used to treat the top, bottom, and sides of each of your feet. The treatment area may be sensitive to heat for several days following application.

To learn more about your options for addressing diabetic peripheral neuropathy, get in touch with Dr. Renk at Alpenglow Pain & Wellness today. Schedule your initial consultation appointment with Dr. Renk online, or call now to book.

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