Can neuropathy be prevented?

You can reduce your risk of neuropathy by treating existing medical problems and adopting healthy living habits. Here are some tips:

  • Manage your diabetes: If you have diabetes, keep your blood glucose level within the range recommended by your doctor.
  • Take care of your feet: If you have diabetes or poor blood flow, it’s important to check your feet every day. Look for sores, blisters, redness, calluses, or dry or cracking skin. Keep your toenails clipped (clip straight across the nail); apply lotion to clean, dry feet; and wear closed-toe, well-fitting shoes. Protect your feet from heat and cold. Don’t walk barefoot.
  • Declutter your floors. Keep your floors free of items that could cause you to trip and fall. Make sure all electrical cords are tucked away along the baseboards of walls and rooms are well lit.
  • Stop smoking: Smoking constricts blood vessels that supply nutrients to nerves. Without proper nutrition, neuropathy symptoms can worsen.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eat a balanced diet, stay within your ideal weight range, exercise several times a week and keep alcoholic drinks to a minimum. These healthy living tips keep your muscles strong and supply your nerves with the oxygen and nutrients they need to remain healthy.
  • Review your medications: Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about all the medications and over-the-counter products you take. Ask if any are known to cause or worsen neuropathy. If so, ask if a different medication can be tried.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/16/2019.

References

  • National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Peripheral Neuropathy. Accessed 12/18/2019.
  • National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet. Accessed 12/18/2019.
  • Hughes RAC. Peripheral neuropathy. BMJ 2002;324:466.
  • StatPearls. Hammi C. Neuropathy. Accessed 12/18/2019.
  • Hanewinckel R, Ikram MA, Van Doorn PA. Peripheral neuropathies. Handb Clin Neurol 2016;138:263-82.
  • Tavee J, Zhou L. Small fiber neuropathy: A burning problem. Cleve Clinic J Med 2009;76(5):297-305.
  • Calcutt NA, Smith DR, Frizzi K, et al. Selective antagonism of muscarinic receptors is neuroprotective in peripheral neuropathy. J Clin Invest. 2017 Feb 1;127(2):608-622.

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