For 15 years, Erez Benari’s struggle with his type 2 diabetes had been a losing one. A software engineer at Microsoft in Seattle, Washington, Benari had stuck to a restrictive diet that kept him off most carbs, along with regular insulin shots. But still, his high blood sugar levels never dropped, while his health continued to decline. In 2013, the then 39-year-old Benari suffered a heart attack.
Powerful drugs like oxycodone (Oxycontin) and the opioid-like medicine tramadol (Conzip, Ultram) can treat much stronger pain. But these tend to be a last resort for pain relief. You might use these medications if other treatments aren’t working. However, these drugs aren’t meant for long-term relief because of side effects and the potential for addiction. Work closely with your doctor and use caution when taking opioid medicines.
Pain affects millions of people with diabetes. For most of these people, the pain is chronic, defined as pain persisting for more than six months, experienced almost every day, and of moderate to severe intensity, or that significantly interferes with daily activities. In some cases, a person’s pain is clearly related to complications of diabetes; in other cases, it is not. Regardless of the cause, however, studies show that chronic pain makes diabetes self-management much more difficult and often leads to higher blood glucose levels.
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