Right now, today, we have pain treatments for neuropathy, including the powerful pills Cymbalta, Neurontin, and Lyrica. Then we have lidocane patches, tropical ointments, and some surprising (but well-documented) pain treatments, including evening primrose oil, and near-infrared light treatments called MIRE. We also have TENS units, those electrical devices that scramble pain signals so they can't get from your feet to your brain. They work for fully half of the people who try them.
But all those things just kill or mask the pain. Which beats the hell out of having pain, but it's a Band-Aid, not a treatment.
What about addressing the underlying causes of neuropathy from diabetes? Of course, controlling your average blood sugar, and your blood sugar excursions, is the best way to stop neuropathy in its tracks. But then what? Can we reverse it? It seems so. Prescription medical food supplements, such as Metanx, have been clinically shown again and again to trigger some nerve re-growth. That's a start. But it gets even better. Come back into the room, George.
Early gene therapy research proves that the complete reversal of neuropathy is possible. Uh… well, at least in mice. But, hey, mice are people, too. Still, this shows us that it is possible to regrow, rejuvenate, and restore damaged nerves.
We weren't even sure of that before.
It isn't exactly a new dawn, but it sure as hell is the light at the end of a long dark tunnel. One that turns out not to be a one-way road after all.
Wil Dubois is the author of four multi-award-winning books about diabetes. He is a PWD type 1, and is the diabetes coordinator for a rural non-profit clinic. Visit his blog, LifeAfterDX.
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...