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How should you control your blood sugar if you have diabetic nerve pain?

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The best prevention for nerve pain, ultimately, is to manage your diabetes well. In fact, a 2006 study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases showed that strict blood glucose control with intensive insulin therapy lowered the chances in people with type I (insulin requiring) diabetes of having symptoms of peripheral neuropathy -- tingling, burning, and pain -- by 64%. These results have also been shown to hold true in type II diabetes, too.

The two most important determinants of whether you get diabetic neuropathy are how many years you've had diabetes and how well you control your blood sugar. Other factors, including controlling blood pressure and blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides) and not smoking are also important to prevent diabetic neuropathy.

Controlling your blood glucose also helps reduce the symptoms of diabetic nerve pain. So the good news is that controlling your glucose levels with diet, exercise, and if needed, medications can not only help prevent diabetic peripheral neuropathy, but they can also help ease its effects.

Dace L. Trence, MD, endocrinologist, director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle. 

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC): "Prevent Diabetes Problems: Keep Your Feet and Skin Healthy," "Prevent Diabetes Problems: Keep Your Nervous System Healthy," "Diabetic Neuropathies: The Nerve Damage of Diabetes." 

American Diabetes Association: "Strict Blood Glucose Control Helps Prevent Nerve Damage in People with Diabetes."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on May 11, 2019

Dace L. Trence, MD, endocrinologist, director of the Diabetes Care Center at the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle. 

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC): "Prevent Diabetes Problems: Keep Your Feet and Skin Healthy," "Prevent Diabetes Problems: Keep Your Nervous System Healthy," "Diabetic Neuropathies: The Nerve Damage of Diabetes." 

American Diabetes Association: "Strict Blood Glucose Control Helps Prevent Nerve Damage in People with Diabetes."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on May 11, 2019

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