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Type 1 Diabetes: Living With Complications - Treatment Overview


Keeping your blood sugar levels within a target range (hemoglobin A1c less than 7%) is the only treatment that can stop or slow the progression of neuropathy.

If you have peripheral neuropathy, your doctor may suggest medicines (such as nonprescription pain relievers, creams, or prescription oral or injected medicines). Physical therapy or acupuncture may relieve pain and stiffness and/or improve your mood and mental well-being.

To help prevent injuries:

  • Turn your water heater down, and use a bath thermometer or have someone test your bath water to make sure that it is not too hot.
  • Don't use an electric blanket.
  • Arrange your furniture so that the walkways through your house are free of clutter, preventing falls.

If you have focal neuropathy (affecting one nerve), your doctor may suggest a joint splint.

If you have autonomic neuropathy, your doctor may suggest the following:

  • For digestive problems: Eat smaller, more frequent meals that contain less fat and fiber. You can also take medicine for gastroparesis, such as metoclopramide (Reglan) or erythromycin. If gastroparesis becomes severe, you may need surgery to place a feeding tube in the small intestine .
  • For urinary problems: Drink more fluids each day to prevent urinary tract infections.
  • For profuse sweating: Drink more fluids when you are outside in hot weather to prevent dehydration.
  • For sexual problems: Try a device for erection problems or a lubricating cream for vaginal dryness. Medicines for erection problems include sildenafil citrate (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra). But all of these medicines can make heart problems worse. Do not take them if you take nitrate medicines (such as nitroglycerin). Talk to your doctor about which medicine would work best for you.
  • For hypoglycemia unawareness: Check your blood sugar level more often to prevent very low blood sugar levels.

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist for treatment of specific complications.

For more information, see the topic Diabetic Neuropathy.

For foot problems

Have your doctor do a thorough foot exam yearly. If you develop serious infections or bone and joint deformities, you may need surgery (possibly amputation). You can prevent many foot problems by inspecting your feet daily and protecting them from injury.

Diabetes: Taking Care of Your Feet

What To Think About

The most important thing you can do is to keep your blood sugar within a target range. This slows the progression of your complication from diabetes and lowers your risk for developing others. Continue eating a diet that spreads carbohydrate throughout the day, get regular exercise, and take your prescribed insulin. You can take insulin by injection or through an insulin pump. For more information, see the Home Treatment section of the topic Type 1 Diabetes: Living With the Disease.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 07, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

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Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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