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Dealing with neuropathy a part of type 2 diabetes

Those of us who struggle with the condition of type 2 diabetes may face many complications including peripheral neuropathy.feet, hands

According to the Mayo Clinic, peripheral neuropathy is “a result of damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves), often causes weakness, numbness, and pain, usually in your hands and feet. It can also affect other areas of your body.”

Today, we’re going to talk briefly about neuropathy and what, if anything can be done about it.

What causes neuropathy?

Again, according to the Mayo Clinic, “Peripheral neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, inherited causes and exposure to toxins. One of the most common causes is diabetes.”scratching, itching

I can’t tell you how it affects other people, but I can tell you that the neuropathy I experience in my hands and feet, and legs started as an incredibly deep itch. I don’t know how else to describe it. When it started in my feet, it felt like I could scratch all the way through my foot and still not make the itching stop! It was and remains miserable. It has slowly been making its way up my legs. It always starts with the itching and then moves on to stabbing pain and numbness.

It is always so difficult to explain to someone that your foot is numb, but you feel stabbing pain. It sounds like you are going crazy. Sometimes the pain and itching make it feel like I am!

In the last couple of years, the neuropathy has also moved to my hands. Sometimes my fingers and hands itch and hurt so much that I have to stop whatever I am doing and scratch them. I realize that the scratching doesn’t really do much good to alleviate it. However, when I ignore the itch, it is like the itch “nudges” me until I scratch it. The itch intensifies and intensifies until it drives me mad not to scratch it.

Diabetic neuropathy differs slightly in that it is high blood sugar/glucose that injures the nerves and causes the problem.

It also differs in a rather significant way which makes type 2 diabetes caused neuropathy extremely dangerous.

Again, according to the Mayo Clinic, diabetic neuropathy can affect you with four different types of neuropathy. They are:

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Proximal neuropathy (diabetic polyradiculopathy)
  • Mononeuropathy (focal neuropathy

Each one of these comes with its own set of body parts that can be affected which pretty much covers the whole body from head to toe!

Anyone who says that diabetes is not a killer has not done their research.

The only good news about this is that there are ways to treat, slow, and perhaps even reverse the effects.

Treatment

pills, medicationThere are medications you can take to help with the pain of neuropathy. I used to take Gabapentin. It was supposed to help with the pain, but I had to take a lot of it and it really didn’t do much to stop the itching or the pain so I stopped taking it.

There are other medications or treatments you can partake in, of course, but I have found that rubbing lotion on my feet can be very effective at alleviating some pain.

Talk with your medical provider about other treatment options.

I believe exercise (walking) and losing weight can also be very effective in lessening the effects of neuropathy.

Whatever you do, don’t give up hope and don’t feel like you are alone. You are not alone and you are not crazy even if it feels like you are losing your mind with this pain and itching with no apparent cause.

There have been times when I have literally jumped and cried out when one of those sudden stabbing pains did its thing! Can you imagine being at work and crying out? It happens… My co-workers were getting quite used to it before COVID-19 which forced us all to start working from home. I wonder what will happen when we go back to the office? They will probably have to get used to me all over again!

My new normal

As I mentioned in my last article, I began walking and watching what I eat a bit closer after I learned about my high A1c. I decided to record my daily foods and walking here as a hopeful way of helping others and to document the path I have taken in my effort to reverse type 2 diabetes.

Exerciseroute, walk

The image to the left is my daily walk. I use an app which is aptly called “Walking.” It is by Verv. It has been getting easier to walk the more I do it.

Today I walked a little over a mile in 27 minutes. When I started about a week ago, it would have taken me easily 40 minutes to do the same distance.

I have been working hard on walking at least one time a day and oftentimes walking two times a day.

In total today, I walked about 2 miles.

Meals

Meals are a much harder task for me to take on. For one, I am not a very good cook so I am limited to the few things I know how to make.

For breakfast today I had steel-cut oats with almond milk, flax seeds, chia seeds, frozen blueberries, trail mix, and coffee. This was a 707 calorie meal and held me over pretty well until lunch.

My fasting pre-breakfast blood sugar reading was 195. That was almost 200 less than it was a week ago!

Two hours after breakfast it was 249. Not great, but still much better than in the past which was normally in the 400-600 range.veggies, vegetables

For lunch, I had a salad with ranch dressing, whole cashews, chia seeds, and flax seeds. It did not hold me over very well and I was hungry in about an hour.

I fought the feeling of hunger and waited another hour before I had a small handful of cashews as a snack.

For supper, I had a pork steak with Italian-style bread crumbs.

My evening snack consisted of two pieces of string cheese and about 30 red grapes.

While my calorie goal is 1970, I had 2841 calories today. That is one thing that I seriously have to work on. I often overeat and I need to make sure that I am not doing that.

Tomorrow I intend to write about carbs. A lot of people think they are the enemy. Read on tomorrow to see what I think!


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About the author

Karin Nauber, is a professional journalist who has worked in the newspaper business for the past 25 years. She is also a grandmother who, along with her spouse, is raising one of their granddaughters. Karin has nine grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending as much time as possible. Karin also was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about 13 years ago and has faced many challenges with the disease. If you would like to contact her, please do so at karin@diabeteshealthnuts.com.

8 thoughts on “Dealing with neuropathy a part of type 2 diabetes

  1. This is awesome!!!I have been doing some reading about this for some time now and I finally get a personal experience with so much detail. I love the details about how you are walking…. walking is awesome to help relieve the numbness, at least from my experience. I started feeling it about some months ago and it comes and goes depending on how hard I work out and what I ingest. I finally found that out. But it takes a lot of paying attention to the body and actively watching over it to be able to monitor the feeling and the ways/where it can manifest. I love this because you used your own experiences to help people like me see that it can be managed without being a burden completely. It is a concern when your mind remembers it and your body reacts, but it can be helped. I can’t imagine it for people who feel it on an extremely high scale but I hope that they are getting help. thank you again for sharing and for recommending some things to take note of and also incorporate into one’s lifestyle. thank you!!

    1. Thank you so much for visiting our site, Chika! I am glad you found us. I am sorry you have been feeling the ill effects of neuropathy over the past few months. Keep walking. It will help keep neuropathy at bay!

      Proper eating is essential. I will be writing more and more posts about that in the future because of my firm belief that conditions can be cured or reversed or even never happen in the first place through proper nutrition.

      My biggest thing is finding a way to make nutritious foods taste good! 😉

      I hope you will find the articles on my site helpful as we go along!

      To our health,
      Karin 🙂

  2. This was an interesting post as I was totally unaware of neuropathy.

    I must say that I sympathize with you, as it sounds absolutely awful to have to live with.  There is nothing as bad as an itch, no mind the pain.

    I am glad that not only are you trying to change your diet and exercise in an attempt to reduce, or eliminate it, but that you want to share it, in the hope of helping others too.

    Thanks and hopefully you will experience relief soon.

    1. Hi Geoff,

      I am glad you found the article interesting. Neuropathy is one of the many “side-effects” of diabetes. I have learned to deal with the pain without medication, but it can be a huge challenge because it is very painful most of the time. I find that when I keep myself busy and active, I can “ignore” the pain and the itching, at least to some extent.

      I appreciate your good wishes. This will definitely be a battle, but I know that better health can come from the radical changes that are required.

      To our health,
      Karin 🙂

  3. I have to admit, this has been the most helpful article that I have read on the subject. And I’m not just saying that. I have an aunt who currently is struggling with neuropathy and I honestly am very moved with this article and I will be sending it to her because I think she will be finding a lot of value in these words. I found a lot of value in this word and I don’t even have neuropathy. Thank you so much for this article

    1. Hi Misael, 

      I am so glad that you found this article helpful. There is a lot of information out there, but very little that I have found that really gets to the “meat” of the topic. Neuropathy hurts. Neuropathy makes you feel crazy. Neuropathy is bad!

      I hope your aunt will find good information not only from this article but also from the others on my site. I like to write from my own experience because I realize that I am not alone and together we can offer hope and help to one another!

      To our health,
      Karin 🙂

  4. Hi Karin. Very interesting article. There is still not enough information about diabetes and related complications and posts like this are precious. I will definitely share it with my friends and family to make sure the knowledge is shared. Neuropathy is  very serious ailment and doctor visit is most important. But I agree that we can’t forget about proper training and diet. With all this comfort of live significantly improves. Thank you for your post!

    1. I am glad you found the article interesting. I think many articles are not written from a personal point of view which makes them harder to read and harder to understand. I like reading first-hand experiences because they are more “real.” Because I feel this way, I like to write first-hand experiences, too, because they are more real.

      Thank you for sharing the article with your friends. I hope they find value in this article as well as others on our site.

      To our health,
      Karin 🙂

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