Simple lifestyle changes may help you to manage symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, such as pain, decrease in muscle mass, or numbness in the limbs.
Regular exercise may reduce pain or cramps, improve muscle strength, help control blood sugar levels, and prevent muscle loss. In particular, activities such as walking or swimming can improve neuropathy symptoms.
A diet rich in fish, nuts, whole grains, and fresh produce can be a part of a plan to maintain a healthy weight, which can reduce the effects of peripheral neuropathy. Healthy eating may improve gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, or incontinence that result from damage to the nerves controlling intestinal muscle contractions. A healthy diet also corrects underlying nutrient deficiencies.
Drinking excess alcohol can worsen certain health conditions that cause neuropathy, such as diabetes and poor nutrition, and can also lead to nerve damage. Moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and no more than two drinks per day for men age 65 and younger.
Proper foot care and careful wound treatment are especially important for people who have trouble feeling pain due to peripheral neuropathies. Making sure diabetes is well controlled may help encourage nerve regeneration. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels has also been shown to reduce neuropathy symptoms and prevent further nerve damage.
Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.