What is diabetic neuropathy?
The most common complication of diabetes is neuropathy, which is nerve damage caused by high blood sugar. Most neuropathy affects the legs, hands and feet and usually presents as numbness, pain, or tingling. Diabetic neuropathy can also seriously impact the heart, blood vessels, digestive system, and the kidneys. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to extreme pain. At its most complicated, diabetic neuropathy can be quite painful and even disabling. Interestingly, many people can experience symptoms of neuropathy and be unaware that they even have diabetes.
Who does it affect?
According to the CDC, 37 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. About half that population (Type 2) goes on to develop diabetic neuropathy; 20% of Type 1. In 2022, diagnoses of diabetes decreased slightly but are now increasingly affecting younger age groups. Black, Asian, American Indian, Hispanic and non-Hispanic Asian ethnic groups are at a higher risk – both male and female. There are troubling signs that it may soon be on the rise, as prediabetes has tripled in cases reported (2005-2008 to 2017-2019).
Can you prevent diabetic neuropathy?
There are many ways to prevent or delay diabetic neuropathy. Making sure that you closely monitor and control your blood sugar is integral: According to the American Diabetes Association, those with diabetes should use a blood glucose meter to help you make decisions about day-to-day care and get an A1C test at least twice a year to find out your average blood sugar for the past 2 to 3 months. It’s also important to take good care of your feet in order to prevent diabetic neuropathy. Check your feet daily so that you recognize any signs of injury that could become serious.
What treatments help to relieve discomfort?
Since there is no cure yet for diabetes or resulting neuropathy, the goals of treating symptoms are to:
- Relieve the pain and discomfort
- Slow the progression of the neuropathic symptoms
- Identify and manage diabetic complications
- Restore function where possible
Physicians treat all kinds of diabetic neuropathy with some standard protocols such as medications and lifestyle changes. Essential lifestyle changes include:
- Weight loss
- Managing blood glucose levels
- Regular exercise
- Avoiding added sugars
- Smoking cessation
- Eliminating alcohol
All of these lifestyle modifications can significantly decelerate the progression of the disease and alleviate, to some degree, the neuropathic complications of diabetes. Serious diabetic neuropathy requires a true multidisciplinary protocol involving a range of health professionals.
How can BioWave® help with diabetic neuropathy?
BioWave® may be a useful tool to reduce pain that results from diabetic neuropathy. BioWave® devices and BioWraps®, feature advanced technology utilizing hydrogel electrodes placed directly on the skin to send high frequency electrical signals into deep tissue, blocking the transmission of pain from the nerve to the brain.
There is substantial clinical evidence that stimulation of the tibial nerve can provide a significant reduction in pain that results from diabetic neuropathy. As a result, patients are receiving implanted tibial nerve stimulators for treating this pain condition. BioWave has been proven to stimulate the tibial nerve using noninvasive electrodes in an in-vivo study.
All BioWave® devices have our patented pain blocking technology, designed to block pain at the source and deliver better and longer-lasting pain relief with one to three 30-minute treatments per day, though there is no limit to the number of daily treatments that may be performed. There may be a cumulative benefit with multiple treatments.
At BioWave®, it is our goal to help people reduce their pain so they can get back to living. Diabetic Neuropathy can be painful, but treatment with BioWave along with lifestyle modifications can help ease symptoms and improve overall function.