What is Diabetic Neuropathy?
If you have experienced pain from neuropathy, there is a large chance you have considered treatment as a way to control the associated discomfort. Neuropathy, often referred to as nerve damage, can cause incontrollable symptoms throughout the body. This may include pain, weakness, numbness, tingling, pins and needles, and other noticeable symptoms. Unfortunately, this condition is extremely common in patients suffering from diabetes. In fact, 50% of diabetic individuals will develop neuropathy in some form at some point. For this reason, after a diabetic neuropathy diagnosis, it is important to remain calm and know that you are not in this alone.
You may be wondering what the correlation is between diabetes and neuropathy. When an individual has consistently high blood glucose, it can damage the small blood vessels, ultimately preventing essential nutrients from reaching the nerves. Depending on the affected nerve, symptoms can manifest in different areas of the body. Although there is no way to reverse neuropathy, making an effort to maintain healthy blood glucose through exercise and clean eating can always help prevent it from worsening.
At BEST Health System, patient education is one of our primary goals. We believe that effective treatment is only possible through the continuation of an at-home routine consisting of healthy habits. Whether this is limiting alcohol consumption, physical therapy, diet adjustments, or extended rest, commitment is key.
How to Know if I Have Diabetic Neuropathy
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are unsure if you have developed some form of neuropathy, there are a few telltale signs that may help indicate. Oftentimes, patients with this condition may ignore their symptoms or mistake them for something else. But, if you begin to experience any of these signs, it is important to take action as soon as possible.
The most common symptom of diabetic neuropathy is general pain, weakness, and discomfort throughout the body. However, there are some symptoms that are less commonly discussed. Although less common, if you experience any of these symptoms, there is a chance it is related to your diabetic neuropathy.
- Nausea or vomiting
- Urinary dysfunction
- Vision problems
- Reproductive issues
- Erectile dysfunction
If you have noticed any of these symptoms, it may be time to seek additional help. Although pain may be manageable through non-prescription pain medications, these symptoms are not. Diabetes patients experiencing any of these require more specific care so they can continue living their lives without worrying about these disabling symptoms.
Conservative Treatment Options
If your diabetic neuropathy symptoms have become impossible to manage, your doctor may suggest a course of conservative treatment for neuropathy. Oftentimes, patients looking for diabetes relief will consider neuropathic pain agents. It is a large concern amongst diabetes patients that these agents are addictive or can have various mental effects. Therefore, it is important to remember you have a few options to manage your condition.
As mentioned earlier, leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the best decisions you can make as a diabetes patient. Not only can this help you manage your neuropathy, but it can also be very beneficial for your overall health. Making decisions to eat healthier, work out more, quit smoking, and limit alcohol consumption can make a huge difference in the way you feel.
In the event that these lifestyle changes do not help your condition, you may be a candidate for further treatment.
Neuropathy Treatment with BEST Health System
At BEST Health System, we recognize how debilitating diabetic neuropathy can be. For this reason, we have worked to create a comprehensive treatment plan to address common neuropathy symptoms. Depending on the severity of your condition and your preferences, BEST Health System offers a variety of minimally invasive procedures for patients seeking relief.
- Spinal cord stimulator. This effective form of therapy works by targeting multiple muscle groups directly from the spine and then alters how the brain senses pain.
- Nerve stimulator. This works similarly to a spinal cord stimulator but instead sends mild electrical currents directly to the nerves outside of the spinal cord.
- Facet injections. Injections are used to treat pain and identify the painful joint. A successful injection will confirm that a particular facet joint is causing the pain.
- Placet rich plasma (PRP). The goal of a PRP injection is to reduce pain and improve nerve function. It is injected into the joints and the ends of nerves.
BEST Health System’s spinal cord stimulator is a modern solution to this common condition. Since we understand that an inserted device may seem overwhelming, we offer patients a trial run. If they do not notice relief, they can have it removed. The batteries can be easily replaced every so often by the patient’s surgeon.
BEST Health System’s Cleveland Clinic
At BEST Health System’s Cleveland location, Dr. Jeffrey Shall is our neuropathy specialist. With over 39 years in the medical field and thousands of procedures under his belt, BEST is proud to have him as a central figure in our neuropathy treatment team. Prior to his time at BEST, Dr. Shall was an orthopaedic spine surgeon at St. Vincent Medical Center, where he stayed for five years. Aside from that, Dr. Shall also notably worked at the Laser Spine Institute as an orthopaedic spine surgeon.
Now, as a fundamental part of the BEST Health System team, Dr. Shall is proud to continue working with neuropathy patients to help them find relief. It is the BEST goal to help bring advanced medical care to the Cleveland community and surrounding areas, and Dr. Shall is a vital part of our mission.
If you have struggled with diabetic neuropathy, it is time to seek relief. Contact BEST Health System today to learn more about neuropathy treatment with Dr. Jeffrey Shall.