Tag Archive for: Diabetes

Neuropathy occurs when one or more nerves are damaged or destroyed.  This disrupts the nerves’ ability to send messages from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, skin, and other parts of the body resulting in muscle weakness, numbness, and pain in the affected area.  Frequently neuropathy begins in your hands and feet but can occur in other parts of your body as well.

Diabetes is the leading cause of neuropathy in the United States among other causes.  In fact, it is estimated that 60-70% of people with diabetes experience neuropathy.  Some may experience mild symptoms, but for others, the pain can be debilitating.  If you have diabetes, you can prevent or delay neuropathy by keeping your diabetes under control.

  • Manage Your Blood Glucose Level
  • Frequently Check Your Skin and Feet for Cuts or Sores
  • Wash Your Feet Daily and Moisturize
  • Wear Properly Fitted Shoes that Protect Your Toes
  • Protect Your Feet and Fingers from the Heat and Cold


How Can Therapy Help?

Treatment for neuropathy is often focused on managing the underlying cause and relieving symptoms.  Physical Therapy treatment may be focused on maintaining and improving function through range-of-motion exercises and stretching, strength training, balance training, and pain management.  Occupational Therapy treatment can help provide education on fall prevention as well as strategies to reduce pain and increase mobility.

Source: Cleveland Clinic, The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy, Mayo Clinic Foundation

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. There is not any one specific cause of diabetes however there are many factors which contribute to a higher risk of getting the disease including but not limited to genetics, obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Type 1 Diabetes – Caused by genetics and unknown factors
There is no cure, however it can be managed to prevent further diabetes-related complications.

Type 2 Diabetes – Caused by genetics and lifestyle factors
Can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes.

Prediabetes affects more than 84 million adults in America
Losing weight and staying active can greatly reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Diet – A healthy diet is one that is rich in nutrients and low in calories. Eat foods high in fiber such as fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains and nuts.
Hydration – Be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks and caffeine.
Exercise – It’s very important to exercise for 45 minutes or more at least 3-4 times per week. Walking, riding a bicycle, running, and swimming are a few examples.

Therapy’s Role in Managing Diabetes

Occupational Therapy can help improve the individual’s physical, cognitive, psychosocial, and sensory aspects; which are important in all aspects of everyday living activities.
Physical Therapy can assess to determine a set exercise routine that would be safe and beneficial. Also, diabetic neuropathy can be treated with massage, balance and gait training, and conditioning.
Speech Therapy can assist with difficulty swallowing or talking, due to complications of diabetes.


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Managing diabetes during the holidays can be challenging. Health often takes a back seat to attending parties,
shopping, and travel. Planning ahead and making deliberate choices can make all the difference in keeping
your diabetes in check. Use these tips below to make your holidays healthier!

Plan for Parties

  1. Offer to bring a dish to share. Knowing that you have one healthy option can help you keep your
    carbohydrates in line.
  2. Eat slowly, and savor the holiday treats. If possible, eat near your usual meal time and keep
    carbohydrates within your normal meal parameters.
  3. Skip seconds and plan for dessert. Let yourself indulge but remember to keep it in moderation.

Plan for Travel

  1. Create a travel checklist. This can help you ensure you have packed all your medical supplies.
  2. Create an itinerary and pack snacks. Staying on schedule can help keep meal and medication on track
    throughout your trip. Having snacks on hand can help ensure your sugar level stays where it needs to be.
  3. Check your blood sugar often so you’re aware of any effects travel may have on your body.

Stay Active
Whether you’re attending parties or going to visit family and friends out of state, one of the most important
keys to staying healthy during the holidays is exercise. Exercise is known to help lower blood sugar. Find
time for exercise by taking a couple extra laps at the mall, a rest stop, or the airport.

How Therapy Can Help!
Physical Therapists can help people with diabetes improve their ability to move, perform daily tasks, reduce
pain, and sometimes even lower their blood glucose levels. Physical therapy treatments may also help patients
with diabetes associated skin problems and wounds heal more rapidly than they would without treatment.
If you or a loved one has diabetes, talk to your doctor today about how physical therapy may benefit you!


Five-Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies | Source: Martha Stewart Living, March 2015
Nut butter does double duty by replacing both flour and regular butter in these two-bite (gluten-free!) treats.


  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, stir together almond butter, chocolate chips, sugar, eggs, and salt until a dough forms. Place 1-tablespoon mounds of dough 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake cookies until puffed and tops are set, about 10 minutes.