Type 1 Diabetes: Living With Complications - Treatment Overview
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
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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.
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
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
insulin pump. For more information, see the Home
Treatment section of the topic
Type 1 Diabetes: Living With the Disease.