How can I prevent the progression of nerve damage if I have diabetes?

If you have diabetes and already have nerve damage these steps can prevent or delay further damage and may lessen your symptoms.

  • Keep your blood glucose levels in your target range. Meal planning, physical activity, and medications, if needed, all can help you reach your target range. There are two ways to keep track of your blood glucose levels:

  1. Use a blood glucose meter to help you make decisions about day-today care.
  2. Get an A1C test (a lab test) at least twice a year to find out your average blood glucose for the past 2 to 3 months.

    Checking your blood glucose levels will tell you whether your diabetes care plan is working or whether changes are needed.

  • Report all possible signs of nerve damage.
  • If you have problems, get treatment right away. Early treatment can help prevent more problems later on. For example, if you take care of a foot infection early, it can help prevent amputation.
  • Take good care of your feet. Check your feet every day. If you no longer can feel pain in your feet, you might not notice a foot injury. Instead, use your eyes to look for problems. Use a mirror to see the bottoms of your feet. Use your hands to feel for hot or cold spots, bumps, or dry skin. Look for sores, cuts, or breaks in the skin. Also check for corns, calluses, blisters, red areas, swelling, ingrown toenails, and toenail infections. If it's hard for you to see or reach your feet, get help from a family member or foot doctor.
  • Protect your feet. If your feet are dry, use a lotion on your skin but not between your toes. Wear shoes and socks that fit well and wear them all the time. Use warm water to wash your feet, and dry them carefully afterward.
  • Get special shoes if needed. If you have foot problems, Medicare may pay for shoes. Ask your health care team about it.
  • Be careful when exercising. Some physical activities are not safe for people with neuropathy. Talk with a diabetes clinical exercise expert who can guide you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.