Diabetic Neuropathy in Ayurveda
Ayurvedic Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy in Kerala, India
Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Your peripheral nervous system is a network of nerves called peripheral nerves. These transmit information between your central nervous system and all the other parts of your body, including your arms, legs and organs.
Diabetic neuropathy can cause problems with the sensory, autonomic and motor nerves. Diabetic neuropathy most often causes damage to the nerves in your legs and feet.
Anyone with diabetes can develop neuropathy, the major threats are:
- Obesity and high triglyceride: Each of these factors doubled the risk of developing DPN in people with diabetes.
- Smoking: Smoking narrows and hardens your arteries, reducing blood flow to your legs and feet. This makes it more difficult for wounds to heal and damages the peripheral nerves.
- High blood pressure: It increases the chance of Diabetic neuropathy risk from 11% to 65% for diabetic patients.
- Blood sugar control: Uncontrolled blood sugar puts you at risk of every diabetes complication, including nerve damage.
- Diabetes history: The risk of diabetic neuropathy increases the longer you have diabetes, especially if your blood sugar isn’t well controlled.
- Kidney disease: Diabetes can damage the kidneys. Kidney damage sends toxins into the blood, which can lead to nerve damage.
There are four main types of diabetic neuropathy and your symptoms depend on the type of nerve which is affected.
This type of neuropathy may also be called distal symmetric peripheral neuropathy It affects the feet and legs first, followed by the hands and arms. Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include:
- Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes
- Tingling or burning sensation
- Sharp pains or cramps
- Increased sensitivity to touch
- Serious foot problems, such as ulcers, infections, and bone and joint pain
The autonomic nervous system controls your heart, bladder, stomach, intestines, sex organs and eyes. The symptoms include:
- Lack of awareness that blood sugar levels are low
- Bladder or bowel problems
- Slow stomach emptying
- Changes in the way your eyes adjust from light to dark
- Decreased sexual response
Proximal neuropathy (diabetic polyradiculopathy)
This type of neuropathy is also called diabetic amyotrophy. It often affects nerves in the thighs, hips, buttocks or legs. It can also affect the abdominal and chest area. Symptoms include:
- Severe pain in a hip and thigh or buttock
- Eventual weak and shrinking thigh muscles
- Difficulty rising from a sitting position
- Severe stomach pain
Mononeuropathy (focal neuropathy)
There are two types of mononeuropathy, cranial and peripheral. Mononeuropathy refers to damage to a specific nerve. Mononeuropathy symptoms include:
- Difficulty focusing or double vision
- Aching behind one eye
- Paralysis on one side of your face
- Numbness or tingling in your hand or fingers
- Weakness in your hand that may cause you to drop things
The Ayurvedic Explanation
As per Ayurveda, the main doshas that are involved in diabetic neuropathy are vata and pitta dosha. As we are known in ayurveda diabetes is correlated with prameh. The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy like paraesthesiae, pain and tingling sensation are indicating the involvement of vata dosha. Whereas burning sensation is because of vitiation of pitta dosha.
Ayurveda Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy
Ayurveda treatments recommended for diabetic neuropathy are:
The whole body is massaged gently with the medicated oil to improve the circulation of blood, cause nerve stimulation effect and also relieve stress. They concentrate mainly on the foot (Padabhyanga) which is commonly affected by neuropathy.
Shirodhara is the therapeutic administration of warm oils to the center of the forehead in a continuous stream. Shirodhara helps calm the mind and the nervous system. It can alleviate mental and emotional stress and facilitates the unfolding of clarity and bliss.
It is a process done for the problems of the nervous system and other neck problems by applying a special type of medicated steaming.
By combining oil and heat therapy, pizhichil is used to enhance blood circulation and simultaneously release toxins from the body. It is one of the major parts of Panchakarma in ayurveda. The medicated oil is squeezed out from the cloth onto the patient’s body followed by a rejuvenating massage.
Kizhi means bolus or a poultice referring to a cloth ball. Navarakizhi treatment makes use of rice that is cooked and filled in a cotton bolus. Medicated oil is applied to the bolus and this is used to massage the body gently to create sweat. The navarakizhi in ayurveda treatment helps to remove toxins from the body and helps provide relief from stress and neuro problems.
Diet and Lifestyle Practices
A few steps that can help control diabetic neuropathy are:
- Follow a healthy diet
- Do not smoke
- Reduce the intake of alcohol
- Replace refined grains with whole grains
- Do not skip meals
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Limit sugar and fat
- Have smaller meals frequently instead of huge ones
- Keep track of your carbohydrate consumption
Ayurveda treatment for diabetic neuropathy requires proper management to avoid complications. At Krishnendu Ayurveda, we have a very systematic approach in treating diabetic neuropathy; we plan a customized treatment for each individual which is specific to their symptoms.