Essential oils have been known for their therapeutic properties for hundreds of years. They are recognized for their ability to improve physical and mental well-being, especially when faced with certain conditions. Therefore, it is not surprising that they can be used as supplement for the treatment of neuropathy in people with diabetes.
This condition is a serious complication characterized by progressive nerve damage due to high blood sugar levels. It can become asymptomatic, but usually causes numbness, pain, and other discomfort in the extremities. Furthermore, in the most serious cases, it compromises the health of the digestive system and the heart.
How can essential oils help? While more scientific evidence is needed to confirm its effects, some studies suggest that it is applying it as part of treatment may help minimize some of these symptoms. Let’s see the details below.
what is diabetic neuropathy?
Neuropathy appears from the damage of high glucose levels to nerve cells.
Before we get into the details of how essential oils help treat neuropathy in people with diabetes, it’s essential to clarify the basics of this issue. As we have already mentioned, it is a serious and frequent complication of type 1 and 2 diabetes.
It occurs due to long-term high blood glucose levels, especially when there is no adequate control. As a result, the nerves are damaged and the affected areas begin to show pain, numbness and many other symptoms that tend to get worse.
Even when the condition is severe and prolonged, patients are vulnerable to hard-to-treat injuries and infections. Due to poor healing that results from uncontrolled glucose, these cases can end in amputation.
Types of diabetic neuropathy
The term neuropathy is used to refer to various types of nerve damage. In the case of patients with diabetes, four main types of neuropathy can be distinguished. These are:
- peripheral neuropathy: It’s the most usual way. It mainly affects the feet and legs, but can also affect the arms and hands.
- Autonomic neuropathy: affects the autonomic nervous system. Therefore, it leads to digestive problems, cardiovascular disease, and sexual dysfunction.
- Mononeuropathy: also called focal neuropathy. It occurs when there is damage to a specific nerve or group of nerves, causing weakness in the affected area. It usually affects the hand, head, torso and legs.
- proximal neuropathy: it is a rare form of neuropathy. It often affects the hips, buttocks and thighs, causing sudden pain and muscle weakness.
Causes of diabetic neuropathy
Tight glycemic control is necessary during diabetes to avoid neuropathy.
Diabetic patients are susceptible to some form of neuropathy due to high blood sugar levels. The risk is higher when the problem goes unchecked for a long time. Other factors that influence its development are:
- Damage to blood vessels due to high cholesterol levels
- Mechanical injuries, such as the one that causes carpal tunnel syndrome
- Bad habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol
- vitamin B12 deficiency
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy
The symptoms of neuropathy vary in each patient, depending on which nerves are affected. In most cases, the first affected area is the feet. There you can feel discomfort such as punctures and pain. Other clinical manifestations are:
- touch sensitivity
- Loss of sense of touch
- Coordination problems when walking
- Feeling of numbness or pain in the hands or feet
- Burning feet, especially at night.
- Muscle weakness
- Swelling or fullness
- Nausea, indigestion or vomiting
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Dizziness and excessive sweating
- Bladder problems, such as incomplete emptying
- vaginal dryness
- Erectile dysfunction
- Vision problems, such as double vision
- Heart rate incrise
How do essential oils help treat neuropathy in people with diabetes?
Essential oils are used in natural medicine as allies to relieve various symptoms and health problems. Its use, especially in aromatherapy, can speed up the recovery period for certain conditions. They can also help relieve:
- Cuts, scrapes and infections
- hormonal imbalances
- States of stress, tension and anxiety
- Sleep problems
In this particular case, they can be a good complement to treat neuropathy in people with diabetes. Indeed, its benefits include pain relief and better digestion. How do they work?
Essential oils for diabetic neuropathy
Peppermint, Roman chamomile, and lavender essential oils may be helpful in treating neuropathy in people with diabetes. While more research is needed to evaluate its effects, risks, and benefits, There are those who have found a certain feeling of relief in this treatment.
- Mint: It has a mild analgesic effect which helps reduce pain. It also acts as a muscle relaxant and aids in the relief of digestive problems.
- Roman chamomile: a study conducted in 2014 concluded that this plant can help in the treatment of inflammatory disorders. It also helps fight oxidative stress.
- Lavender: Known for its relaxing and analgesic action, lavender is another of the essential oils to treat neuropathy in people with diabetes. Its properties improve the quality of sleep, relax muscles and reduce pain.
How to use these oils?
The administration of essential oils can take place in different ways. For pain relief it is usually used topically, always diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil. This prevents the pure essential oil from causing skin irritation.
Another way to use them is by diluting a small amount in your bath water. This allows you to take advantage of its aromatic properties and, in turn, the components that are absorbed through the skin. Both solutions can minimize some of the symptoms associated with nerve damage.
Risks and warnings
The effectiveness of using essential oils to treat neuropathy in people with diabetes can vary. Since more evidence is needed to prove its action, it may not work the same for all patients. However, it is essential to make sure you are using 100% pure essential oils.
There are some low-quality oils on the market that do not provide the same benefits. It is also essential to ensure the quality of carrier oils. To avoid allergic reactions, it is best to do a small test of the product on a small area of the skin.
If you notice any rashes, swelling or red spots, discontinue use. If you are pregnant, consult a doctor before using them. Finally, it should be remembered that they must not be ingested for any reason.
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