Given that glucose is one of the key contributors to developing peripheral neuropathy, the moment you feel the first signs of peripheral neuropathy, the feeling of numb, tingling or burning toes, you need to consider having your glucose levels checked immediately. If your doctor confirms via your lab results that you have high levels of glucose then you need to seriously consider this as a possible cause of your peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy creeps up on you very slowly at first but often your toe discomfort is just the first warning sign of higher than normal glucose that may lead to diabetes and more pain and discomfort down the road if not addressed at this point.
By controlling glucose you can prevent peripheral neuropathy from spreading further and in some cases you may be able to reverse it.
There are 5 key components to controlling glucose for peripheral neuropathy and diabetes for that matter.
- Monitor your glucose levels
- Manage your diet to control carbohydrates, trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium.
- Supplementing your diet with nutritional supplements for glucose control and nerve health
- Exercise to lower glucose levels
- Monitor your blood pressure
How to monitor your glucose levels peripheral neuropathy
If your lab results show that you are in the pre-diabetic range you need to take this very seriously because you have a good chance of preventing the further spread of PN. The first thing you need to do is to get a glucose meter kit. There are a number of major manufacturers of glucose kits which include Abbott, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson and Roche, just to name a few. The kit will typically include a glucose meter, test strips, a lancet, calibrating fluid and a tracking log along with instructions. When in a pre-diabetic condition you should take readings twice a day for a month taken at different times of the day, either just before a meal or 2 hours from the start of the last meal. By doing this you will get a baseline of what your readings typically are under your current nutritional circumstances.
Managing your diet for peripheral neuropathy
While taking your readings with the glucose meter from your current normal diet you should be learning about managing your diet. Your ultimate goal is to have normal levels of glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides all the while maintaining normal blood pressure.
The website sections Controlling Carbohydrates, Controlling Fats, Controlling Cholesterol and Controlling Blood Pressure include the main points that relate to the “new normal” diet that you need to make part of your lifestyle.
Supplementing your diet with nutritional supplements for peripheral neuropathy
There are key supplements that will aid in lowering your glucose, increasing your metabolism and maintaining nerve health. Cinnamon and Turmeric are natural spices with properties that help lower glucose. Fatty acids like omega 3 and 6 help maintain healthy blood flow which ultimately helps to maintain the oxygen flow to the nerve cells which helps to abate your peripheral neuropathy from spreading. Natural substances that act as catalysts for nerve health are acetyl l-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid. Vitamins often missing from the system in the right quantities to protect you from further peripheral neuropathy damage are B-complex, biotin, iron, vitamin d and vitamin e. Minerals also play a part in nerve health and the key ones to consider are chromium and magnesium.
Exercise to lower glucose levels for peripheral neuropathy
Having run a few test on myself I can attest to the fact that your glucose levels can be lowered by up to 25% by vigorous exercise.
Exercise is a key to life. Man’s primitive ancestors were constantly on the move as they had to hunt in order to stay alive. They were walking an average of 10 miles per day. The human body was designed to be on the move. Unfortunately our civilizations have allowed us to become quite sedentary and this has lead many to develop chronic diseases that did not exist in the past.
Even if you are exercise challenged because you have a disability, there are ways you can still get a good workout and increase your metabolism. As a general rule a 60 minute workout provides 36 hours of extra glucose burn so it is vital that you exercise every 2nd day if possible. the Chinese philosopher Laozi said that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. This could not be more true for your physical health. Just start slow and over time increase the number, frequency and level of the physical exercises that you do. 1% improvements during each workout are adequate to get you into great physical condition and health.
There are many ways to be physically active. See the Fitness Equipment section of this website to select equipment to get you on your way to physical health, low glucose levels and peripheral neuropathy management.
Monitoring your blood pressure for peripheral neuropathy
Keeping an eye on your blood pressure will give you an indication of your general health. Maintaining normal blood pressure levels is critical to all aspects of health including peripheral neuropathy. Proper blood circulation in the body, particularly to the peripheral regions, the feet and the hands is only possible with good blood pressure.
Besides making sure that you restrict sodium in your diet because of its effects on blood pressure. You will need to monitor your blood pressure daily similarly to monitoring your glucose. Today we have very good automatic blood pressure monitoring devices from major manufacturers like 3M, Omron, Panasonic and ReliOn. You should measure your blood pressure once a day at different times of the day to get a good picture of your average blood pressure.
To read more about monitoring your blood pressure and the devices and equipment available to do that, please go to Controlling Blood Pressure for Peripheral Neuropathy.
In summary all these things seem daunting at first to absorb into your lifestyle. It appears to require one to constantly be assessing the nutrition in what you want to eat while constantly measuring glucose levels and blood pressure. The fact is that you should engage in a lifestyle change slowly, just like you would if you started a physical fitness routine. Pick one item to start with like controlling your carbohydrate intake first. Once you have mastered that, which may take you 2-3 months, move on to something else like controlling fats, which again may take you 2-3 months to master. The idea is don’t bite off more than you can chew otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure. If you take a slow and steady approach you will accomplish your goals and besides reducing the pain and discomfort of peripheral neuropathy you will be far more healthy overall.