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Could You Have Nerve Damage?

Anyone with diabetes can develop nerve damage, but these factors increase your risk:

  • Blood sugar levels that are hard to manage

  • Having diabetes for a long time, especially if your blood sugar is often higher than your target levels

  • Being overweight

  • Being older than 40 years

  • Having high blood pressure

  • Having high cholesterol

Nerve damage, along with poor blood flow—another diabetes complication—puts you at risk for developing a foot ulcer (a sore or wound) that could get infected and not heal well. If an infection doesn’t get better with treatment, your toe, foot, or part of your leg may need to be amputated (removed by surgery) to prevent the infection from spreading and to save your life.

When you check your feet every day, you can catch problems early and get them treated right away. Early treatment greatly reduces your risk of amputation.

Preventing Nerve Damage. What’s the most important thing you can do to prevent nerve damage or stop it from getting worse? Keep your blood sugar in your t

arget range as much as possible. Other good diabetes management habits can help, too:

  • Don't smoke. Smoking reduces the blood flow to the feet.

  • Follow a Healthy Eating Plan. Eat MORE fruits and vegetables and LESS sugar and salt.

  • Get physically active. 10 to 20 minutes a day is better than an hour once a week.

  • Take medicines as prescribed by your doctor.

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