Diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans, more than 8 percent of the population. It’s a serious disease and if not controlled it can lead to heart problems, hypertension and skin disorders, among many other complications. Diabetes can also be painful. A 2012 article published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found nearly 50 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes say they have acute and chronic pain. Luckily, with early intervention and a comprehensive treatment plan, the chronic pain associated with diabetes can be diminished.
Diabetes is thought to cause damage to nerves as a result of prolonged elevated levels of glucose in the blood stream. This nerve damage, or diabetic neuropathy can lead to a variety of ailments. Peripheral neuropathy can cause pain, tingling and numbness in lower legs and feet. Autonomic neuropathy can cause symptoms related to the body’s organs, such as diarrhea or constipation. There is no cure for diabetic neuropathy, but there are treatments available to help the sufferer lead a relatively pain free life.
There are a number of ways to treat chronic pain, and comprehensive treatment that utilizes medication, interventional procedures and psychological therapy can be extremely beneficial for patients. A team of doctors and specialists work together to create a custom plan tailored to your pain and your day-to-day life. Medications can put a hold on excess fatigue and side effects associated with diabetes, while interventional treatment help to minimize the use of these same medications. Psychological therapy can help minimize the stress and fatigue that comes with dealing with a disease like diabetes. There is no cure for diabetic neuropathy, but together, these treatments can lead to better management of chronic pain and a more balanced, pain-free life.
The key to treating chronic pain associated with diabetes is early intervention. If you or someone you know is dealing with pain associated with diabetes, a comprehensive plan from the experts at the Washington Center for Pain Management could put you on the path to a more active, happy existence.