Nerve pain, or neuropathy, can be a problem for many people with blood sugar concerns. And the winter can make it worse. As the weather gets colder, we wanted to examine why neuropathy is worse in the cold and how people can care for themselves.
Being cold raises blood pressure and can worsen neuropathy. You should keep the rooms of your house that you occupy the most heated to at least 65 degrees and sleep with your bedroom windows closed. Being warm also makes it easier to draw blood during a finger prick. You should test your blood sugar more frequently in the winter, as being cold can upset your blood sugar levels. You should also check your feet, as people with blood sugar problems are prone to foot problems. And, if you have neuropathy, you should avoid electric blankets as it can be hard to tell if your feet are burning.
During the winter, it’s important to avoid excessive amounts of caffeine. Caffeine can reduce blood flow to the extremities and increase neuropathy. Go for a herbal tea instead of reaching for coffee when you need to warm up!
A great way to stay warm is to do light cardio! It keeps your muscles loose, aids circulation and prevents nerve pain. You may also want to speak to your doctor about medication. Some antidepressants and antiseizure meds can help reduce nerve pain. ITC meds like ibuprofen and acetaminophen and topical treatments can also fight neuropathy.
When you go outside, it’s essential to wear socks and gloves that will keep your feet and hands warm and dry. Fall can be the perfect time of year to clean out your sock drawer and buy new ones if your old ones have holes! Good quality socks can protect your feet and reduce pain! Socks that have become stretched out can rub and cause blisters. And they can be too thin to cushion your feet enough.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you! You might think you’ll get warm enough from movement to exercise outdoors. Maybe that is true for you. But if your body reacts poorly to the cold outdoor air, finding an indoor workout like yoga can help you stay fit and active throughout the cold weather without increasing your pain. You should also speak to your doctor about your pain levels so they know how you are feeling and your medical needs. They can help you find ways to feel comfortable now and make plans for the future.