Aggressive efforts to control blood sugar either delays or prevents clinical neuropathy in patients with type 1 diabetes, according to the Cochrane Collaboraton as reported in MedPage Today. Type 2 diabetics showed a strong trend in the same direction, but did not quite reach statistical significance (p=0.06). Tight control of diabetes is often at the cost of more frequent episodes of hypoglycemia.
Intensive blood sugar control is also a treatment for established neuropathy.
One in ten diabetics has neuropathy at the time of diagnosis. After 10 years, four or five of every 10 have it. The pain of neuropathy is worse than the numbness.
The medical community is still debating how aggressively blood sugars should be managed.
PS: I don’t know what the Cochrane reviewers consider “tight control” because the article is behind a paywall, and the MedPage Today article didn’t address that either.
Reference: Callaghan BC, et al “Enhanced glucose control for preventing and treating diabetic neuropathy” Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012; DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD007543.pub2.