A good way to understand the many causes of chronic pain is by considering phantom limb pain. When people lose an arm or leg in an accident or surgery, about half of them will still feel that the limb is there. About half of those people develop serious pain in the phantom limb. Obviously, this isn’t due to physical injury going on in the moment. It’s a misunderstanding by the brain of the signals it is getting and not getting. The brain figures the signals add up to something seriously wrong, so it sends out an urgent pain message.
The problem, according to gastroenterologist Hiroshi Mashimo, MD, PhD, is that 70 percent of PPI users take the medications incorrectly. “They aren’t getting proper instruction,” says Mashimo. “Most people equate PPIs as a stronger form of an antacid.” Antacids neutralize acid and are meant to be taken to quell symptoms as they occur. PPIs are part of a more long-term strategy. The right way to take them is in the morning, just before or with breakfast. Food “turns on” the body’s acid-making cells; the medication can then work to stop stomach acid production.
Innovation in technology is not just fuelling advances in diabetes treatments though. I know it will accelerate the path to the cure. And this is what unites people with type-1 diabetes, researchers, our charitable supporters and funders. I am convinced one day we will consign type 1 to the history books and no one will ever receive this life-changing diagnosis again.
Ariana Shakibinia decided to study public health in large part because she lives with T1D. She had always been interested in public policy, but she says living with this disease has made her more vested in the healthcare conversation. “I am living with what is essentially a pre-existing condition. I’m fortunate enough to have good health insurance, but it makes the potential financial burden of T1D management much more visible and relatable.”
Acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen can ease mild to moderate pain caused by diabetic nerve damage, says Kimberly Sackheim, DO, a clinical assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center's Rusk Rehabilitation. "But speak with your physician if you take them regularly," she says. Some of these drugs may raise your risk of heart attack, stroke, or kidney damage.
Apart from these medications, treating diabetes effectively means taking a well-rounded approach: You’ll need to eat well, exercise, and manage stress, because all these factors can affect your blood sugar levels. Staying healthy with diabetes also requires caring for yourself — like protecting your feet, practicing oral hygiene, and tending to your mental health.
A 2017 article in the journal Diabetes Care explains that the goals for dietary change should be “healthful eating patterns emphasizing a variety of nutrient-dense foods in appropriate portion sizes.” Additional goals include achieving a healthy weight; attaining healthy blood sugar, blood pressure, and lipid levels; and reducing complications. The authors emphasize developing an individualized plan based on “personal and cultural preferences, health literacy and numeracy, access to healthful foods, willingness and ability to make behavioral changes, and barriers to change.”