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Nerve damage caused by diabetes is known as neuropathy. It can cause tingling, numbness, and pain in the extremities, but it can also cause problems with various organs.
Neuropathy is a common occurrence in people with diabetes and is seen in about 70 percent of patients in some form or another. It tends to increase as the patient ages or as the length of time they’ve been diabetic increases. Neuropathy is also more likely to occur in patients with high blood pressure and weight problems.
There are different forms of neuropathy including peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, proximal neuropathy, and focal neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy (sometimes called distal symmetric or sensorimotor neuropathy) affects the nerves in the arms and legs while autonomic neuropathy affects the nerves in the heart and other internal organs.
Proximal neuropathy, also known as lumbosacral plexus neuropathy or femoral neuropathy, affects the legs, hips, and buttocks. Finally, focal neuropathy affects the nerves in the legs, torso, and head.
Can nerve damage caused by diabetes be reversed? It remains unclear. Studies are ongoing and the debate continues, but there are, in fact, things you can do to prevent and treat neuropathy.
While nerve damage is quite common in people with diabetes, there are things you can do to prevent the different forms of neuropathy from affecting you. Some obvious prevention measures include controlling your diabetes through medication, proper diet, and regular exercise.
Changing your diet to include more lean proteins and healthy fats (like olive oil) while limiting your carbohydrates and switching to organic produce, can help keep diabetes under control. You should also avoid alcohol as it tends to worsen neuropathy symptoms that are already present. A good diabetic diet and meal plan can be found inside David Andrews’ Diabetes Destroyer. See NewspaperCat.org for an excellent review of the program.
There are also supplements you can take to protect your nerves. These often work differently for everyone, so it’s wise to consult your doctor for recommendations. Generally speaking, alpha lipoic acid (an antioxidant), L-arginine (an amino acid), Omega-3s and Omega-6s, and B-vitamins are prescribed in conjunction with a healthy diet to stave off neuropathy.
If neuropathy has already set in, there are still things you can do to treat the damage and improve the symptoms. The first thing to do is to maintain proper blood sugar levels so no further nerve damage occurs. This can be done through medication, diet changes, and consistent blood sugar monitoring.
For the pain associated with neuropathy, oral medications can be prescribed. These medications can range from antidepressants to strong opioids and anticonvulsants. They are sometimes prescribed in combination to treat multiple symptoms. Most doctors warn against taking over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen because they come with side effects that can make your neuropathy worse.
There are also topical treatments like lidocaine patches and certain creams that can ease the symptoms, especially those in the feet. In addition to medications and topical solutions, there are also external items that can be used to help keep you comfortable.
For example, there are bed cradles that keep your bedsheets from touching your feet and legs while you sleep. These are especially good for diabetics who are hypersensitive. Alternative therapies like acupuncture, magnetic therapy, and light therapy may also work to alleviate symptoms associated with neuropathy.
Studies continue to find new ways to treat neuropathy and the associated symptoms, but currently there is no concrete evidence to show nerve damage caused by diabetes can be reversed. However, it can most definitely be controlled, managed, and largely prevented.
So you’ve hit the gym, your workout and diet regimens are working as you want them to, and you’re finally shedding off some weight. You love the incredible changes happening within your body.
Then, just when you think “this is it”, the progress suddenly grinds to a screeching halt. A couple of weeks go by, and you go from pure elation at seeing the pounds melt away to complete dejection and contemplating quitting because the results are no longer there.
You’ve hit the much maligned weight loss plateau!
Why can’t you get past it? Have you reached the zenith of your weight loss plan? Is there anything you can do about it?
Well, there certainly is a way out, but before we look at the best way to get through a weight loss plateau, let’s first get a better understanding of this very common phenomenon.
What Is A Weight Loss Plateau?
In simple terms, a weight loss plateau is a stagnant period when you don’t seem to lose weight despite continuing to work hard by eating carefully and exercising faithfully. Essentially, it’s when your weight loss hits a brick wall. The period may last for days or weeks, and the frustrating reality is, it happens to just about everyone who tries to lose weight.
Why Do Weight Loss Plateaus Happen?
When you first embark on a weight loss program, you usually experience a rapid drop in weight for the first few weeks. According to Mayo Clinic, this is because a reduction in calories triggers the body to release glycogen as a source of energy.
Glycogen is a type of carbohydrate found in the liver and muscles. A large component of glycogen is water, and when it’s burned for energy, the resultant weight loss is mostly water. This is what occurs when you hear people talk about losing “water weight”. Nonetheless, the effect is rapid, but also very brief.
As you continue losing weight, some muscle is lost along with fat. Muscle maintains the rate of metabolism, so additional weight loss can lead to a decline in metabolism, causing your body to burn fewer calories than it did at a heavier weight.
The slower metabolism, in turn, slows your weight loss, even when you eat the same number of calories and perform the same exercises that helped you lose weight in the first place. When the calories burned equal the calories consumed, weight loss stops and you reach a weight loss plateau.
What Is The Best Way To Get Through A Weight Loss Plateau?
By the time you hit the plateau, you may have already lost all possible weight with your current exercise and diet plan. Thus, the best way to get through a weight loss plateau is to adjust your diet and workout routine. Programs like the Fat Diminisher System by Wesley Virgin can be a big help because they are designed to minimize weight loss plateaus and prevent rebound weight gain. You can learn more about Wesley’s system and how it works in this excellent Fat Diminisher review.
Review your food and activity records, and adjust them accordingly. As your body changes, so too should your diet and workout routine. Getting off track with your calories and exercise regimen plays a significant role in the onset of a weight loss plateau.
Here are a few other tips that can help you get past the plateau:
Rev Up Your Workout
Increase the time you allocate to exercise by 15 to 30 minutes. Increase the intensity of your exercise as well. Resistance or muscle building exercises can be very beneficial as they help your body burn more calories.
Beware Of “Calorie Creep”
WebMd.com notes that eating more calories than planned is a predominant cause for a weight loss plateau. It is relatively easy for a calorie portion to “creep up”, and before you realize it, you’re eating more calories than your plan prescribes.
To help get past a weight loss plateau, also try:
- Calorie cycling (intermittent fasting) where you alternate days of high and low calorie intake
- Eating breakfast with high fiber content foods to help trim the quantity of food eaten at lunch
- Drinking diet soda instead of a regular soda (or better yet, no soda at all)
- Eating fresh fruit instead of cookies or chips
- Topping your pasta with red sauce instead of a cream sauce
As you embark on your weight loss journey, remember that changing your body is a gradual process, and it won’t happen overnight. Understand that sooner or later you will reach a weight loss plateau, so be prepared for it.
When you do, don’t throw in the towel. It’s only a minor, and temporary, set-back that means you’re one step closer to reaching your weight loss goals.