Diabetics might heave a sigh of satisfaction once they have maintained a healthy diet, exercised regularly and monitored their sugar levels at regular intervals. Yet, they should not get complacent since another danger could be lurking around in their body in the form of diabetic neuropathy. Regular checkups and an alertness to recognize symptoms might help them to avoid the ravages of diabetic neuropathy. But the question that usually haunts diabetics and their loved ones is can diabetic neuropathy be reversed?
The main cause of diabetes, i.e. high blood sugar levels also results in poor blood circulation and damage to nerves over a passage of time. Since this process is gradual, diabetics might not notice anything amiss until the symptoms are quite pronounced and the harm already done. Diabetic neuropathies affect various organs of the body and are accordingly classified as Focal, Autonomic, Peripheral and Proximal neuropathy. These neuropathies can affect different internal and external organs such as eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, arms, legs, toes, fingers, among others. Diabetics might not notice damage to internal organs but if the eyes are affected, then they might have blurry or double vision. On the other hand, the symptoms are much more pronounced when external organs such as fingers, toes, thighs, etc are affected. The patient might feel burning or cutting pain along with numbness in the affected parts.
It is imperative that diabetics visit their doctor as soon as they notice the symptoms instead of waiting until it is too late to reverse the problems. While the symptoms in specific organs affected by diabetic neuropathy can definitely be reversed, the symptoms in others can only be slowed down. For example, if the eyes are affected, then laser surgery among other surgeries can reverse the effects and restore vision to a large extent provided the patient has rushed in at an early stage. However, if the patient’s hands, feet or kidneys have been affected then surgery is often ruled out and medications can only offer to limit the pain in the affected muscle or slow the disease.
Alternative medicines in the form of antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid have also shown positive results in cutting down the pain experienced by diabetics. They also help to a certain extent to balance blood glucose levels in the body of humans and certain pets such as horses and dogs but not cats since their livers create a toxic reaction to the acid. Doctors might also suggest a combination of anti-depressants and other narcotic analgesics along with topical skin creams to provide relief to patients. But if the nerves are already damaged then reversal is not possible and even if the nerves are intact, recovery is usually quite slow.
Diabetics hence need to remember that they need to control their blood sugar levels on a priority basis. They should also exercise regularly and take care to stick to a healthy diet. Smoking and drinking alcohol should be avoided too. Regular checkups at hospitals or at their doctor’s clinic will ensure that any complication is caught in the nascent stage itself and treatment should be started immediately. Hence, then answer to the question can diabetic neuropathy be reversed is that it can be, if the disease is detected and treated at an early stage and if the nerves are still intact.