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Easing pain of diabetic neuropathy.

One of the most problems caused by diabetes is nerve damage. The resultant pain can be sudden and acute.

Neuropathy develops in more than two thirds of the diabetic population. High blood sugar degenerates nerve endings through accumulation of blood sugar composed of fructose and sorbitol or through a change in neural proteins. Damaged nerves then become extremely sensitive.

A recent development in salves that alleviate muscular soreness has been tested for relief of pain associated with neuropathy of diabetes. Capsaicin; according to the researchers, demondtrated an ability to relieve discomport. Patients applied the cream four times daily to the affected area. Reported side effects included burning, sneezing, coughing, rash, and dry skin, which diminished as the tests proceded.

Capsaicin is reported to act by desensitizing various components of nerve endings (C-nociceptive fibers and depleting neropeptides.) (Archives of Internal Medicine 151:2225-2229, 1991.)

Alternative attempts to relieve diabetic neuropathy include restoring blood glucose levels to "normal." Vitamin [B.sub.12] is a vitamin that has been helpful. The medical profession recommends pharmaceuticals such as Elavil (amitriptyline hydrochloride), which is reported to reduce burning, aching, throbbing, and stinging pain. Its side effects include insommia, incidence of hip fracture, sudden low blood pressure, and aggravation of heart block.

Diabetic neuropathy pain is usually temporary and can often be diminished by relaxation methods, foot cradles, cold or hot packs that offer additional relief. Surgery is seldom recommended. Hypnosis and biofeedback have provided some relief. Ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen with oxycodone (Percocet, Roxicet, Tylox) are often prescribed by physicians to reduce pain.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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