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Do Your Diabetic Neuropathy Symptoms Worsen At Night?

December 13, 2018

Though it is treatable, diabetes-related nerve damage, or neuropathy, can cause pain and add complications to your life. You may need to monitor your diet and exercise, and it may be difficult to stay on your feet for long periods of time. One less obvious impact is that many people find that their neuropathy is worse when lying down. Some even find that they have peripheral neuropathy symptoms in their feet only at night.

If this describes you, you’re not alone. A recent study confirmed that people on medication for neuropathy reported their pain was the worst around 11 p.m.

Reasons Why Nerve Pain is Worse at Night

So why is neuropathy worse at night? Though research hasn’t confirmed the exact reasons, there are a few scientific guesses.

Many times, people who have peripheral neuropathy have symptoms that include abnormal sensations or sensitivity to touch - even the touch of a lightly-draped sheet. This could make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.

When you’re trying to sleep, it’s often necessary to “quiet your mind” to rest and to take a break from the distractions of the day. However, the normal events of the day may be helping keep your mind off your neuropathy pain. When you are lying down in the dark, you have less distractions, and it may be more difficult to not focus on the pain you’re feeling.

Some pain-relieving medications, like codeine, have also been shown to disturb sleep. It may be best to speak with your doctor about the medications you are currently taking to see if one could be making your sleep symptoms worse.

Finally, a lack of sleep itself could contribute to your problems with neuropathy keeping you up at night. When we don’t have enough sleep - at least 7-9 hours a night - this can lower our tolerance for pain. This can cause you to enter a cycle of not being able to sleep, which causes further sleep disturbances.

How to Help Peripheral Neuropathy At Night

Neuropathy symptoms at night can be difficult, but there are ways to help treat your pain when lying down our trying to sleep. One of the first steps is keeping track of your sleep schedule and routine to see if there are any factors that may contribute to your symptoms. Make sure you are going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.

Creating a comfortable environment is also key to a good night’s sleep and preventing nighttime pain. Make sure your bedroom, bed, and pillows are comfortable and limit your exposure to screens (TV, iPad, phone, etc.)  If you are very sensitive to touch at night, elevate your bed sheets so they’re not touching your legs or feet.

Some people living with diabetic neuropathy find that creating a habit of cleaning their feet and giving themselves a quick massage helps increase circulation. You can find some of our favorite treatments and creams for diabetic foot pain here.

If none of these treatment options is working for you, it may be time to talk to your doctor about other ways to help relieve your nerve pain at night. Speak with them to see if there are any medications that you can add or take away to help you sleep. If anxiety or depression are contributing to your symptoms, they may recommend treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy or trying meditation and relaxation exercises before sleeping.

Interested in learning more about ways to alleviate diabetic foot pain? Read our post on five things you can do to manage pain symptoms.

Disclaimer: Diabetic neuropathy symptoms may vary from individual to individual. Please consult with your doctor before pursuing any of the actions listed above.

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Chronic Pain and Diabetes

Top 5 Products That Help Diabetic Foot Pain

December 12, 2018

Diabetes can cause different problems over time. One of the main areas of your body that can be affected by high levels of blood sugar is your feet and toes. This can lead to pain, which is called diabetic foot pain. While diabetic foot pain can often be overwhelming and scary, the good news is that there are products that can help.

What Does Diabetic Foot Pain Feel Like?

Over 70% of people with diabetes will experience some form of damage called diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). Over time, factors like high blood sugar cause this kind of nerve damage, usually in your hands and feet. Symptoms are different for everyone, but you might experience:

  • Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes
  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Sharp pains or cramps
  • Increased sensitivity to touch (for some, even the weight of a bedsheet at night may be painful)
  • Serious foot problems, such as ulcers, infections, and bone and joint pain

Diabetic neuropathy cannot be reversed, but there are plenty of products on the market to help manage painful symptoms.

Top 5 Products That Help with Diabetic Foot Pain

Here are some of our favorite products to help with diabetic foot pain:

Capsaicin Cream

Capsaicin cream can block pain signals using an ingredient found in hot peppers. Capsaicin cream can be applied to the skin where the pain is felt the most and comes as a patch, jelly, or lotion. You can learn more about some of our other favorite diabetic foot creams here.

Epsom Salts

Add Epsom salts to your bath for an extra soothing soak to aid with pain and swelling. Be sure to consult your doctor before you try soaking your feet, as it could irritate some injuries or swelling. Also make sure to dry your feet thoroughly, especially between your toes.

Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins keep your nervous system running smoothly. Not getting enough vitamin B12 can actually lead to nerve damage, and vitamin B6 may help to keep nerve endings healthy.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid Supplement (ALA)

This powerful antioxidant is found in some foods and may help relieve nerve pain symptoms in some people. You can find ALA in drugstores and health food stores.

Diabetic Shoes

Finding the right shoe can protect your feet and reduce the risk of further injury. Diabetic shoes can also relieve foot pain as you walk by reducing pressure at the bottom of your feet and providing arch support.

If you're interested in learning more about how to manage diabetic foot pain, check out our post on "5 Ways to Alleviate Diabetic Foot Pain."

Disclaimer: Diabetic neuropathy symptoms may vary from individual to individual. Please consult with your doctor before pursuing any of the actions listed above.

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How to Stay Healthy During the Holidays with Diabetes

November 29, 2018

Holiday celebrating can also mean a lot of food - and not always the healthiest kind. With all the sweat treats, cheese platters and heavy side dishes, managing your diabetes and enjoying the holiday season can seem at-odds with one another. The good news is, with a little preparation, you can stick to your diabetes management plan and make the most of your holiday season.

Set Goals for Managing Your Diabetes During the Holidays

Make a list of the things you'd like to do accomplish this holiday season to help keep yourself accountable and what you really want top of mind. You can refer back to your list to keep yourself on track. Consult with your Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), doctor and the rest of your health team.

Make Smart Holiday Food Choices

  • Don't skip meals. It can be tempting to save your appetite for a big meal, but make sure you eat regularly. Consistent eating keeps your blood sugar stable, prevents you from overeating and sets you up to make healthy choices.
  • Trade off between carbs and sweets. If you have one, save the other for next time.
  • Bring a healthy dish to your holiday parties or gatherings. You'll know you'll have at least one healthy item you can fill your plate with and other guests will be grateful for something to balance their meal too!
  • Stay away from alcohol. Drinks can be full of calories and sugar, so try to minimize how much you drink.

Get In Your Exercise

Getting outside can be a welcome break from all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, reduce stress and keep you on track with your health goals. Walk around your neighborhood to see the holiday decorations and lights, or take a detour through the mall or around your neighborhood shops as you shop for gifts. Even small things add up! Invite your family and friends to go with you, they'll enjoy spending time with you and getting active too.

Don't Forget to Enjoy Your Holiday Season!

Don't be too hard on yourself! It can be easy to get down on yourself when you feel like you have gone off your routine, but the holidays are really about enjoying time with your family and loved ones and leaving room for the occasional splurge with foods you really love. If you don't stick exactly to your plan, don't beat yourself up, simply get back up and try again. It's about progress and doing your best, not perfection.

If you'd like more information on how to stay healthy during the holiday season, check out our 7 tips for staying healthy with diabetes during the holidays.

Disclaimer: Diabetic neuropathy symptoms may vary from individual to individual. Please consult with your doctor before trying something new.

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My DFCon 2018 Experience

November 26, 2018

This post was written by Shunta B, from Texas. She has type 2 diabetes and is a user of the Siren Diabetic Sock and Foot Monitoring System.

My experience at this year’s DFCon (Diabetic Foot Conference) in Houston was amazing. I got to meet the awesome Siren Team, Ran, Henk, Maryam, and Kate. I want to say they are so nice and helpful.

My favorite part of the conference, other than meeting this awesome group of people, would be my part in Ran's breakfast symposium presentation on temperature monitoring. I have never done anything like that before and I was very happy and honored to help.

While I was at the conference, I just watched in awe at how much attention, work and knowledge the team has, and how they're putting it into these awesome socks. These guys are rock stars.

I got to see so many different products on the market for treating and managing diabetes-related, non-healing wounds. While I was at the conference, I got to meet different doctors and podiatrists and speak with a few of them about Siren Socks and my own experience with them. I also got to hear more from the Siren team about the birth of the socks and the technology behind them.

One of my favorite parts of the event was getting a sneak peek of the updated app, and I love it! I can’t wait to actually be able to use it and see what other new things they have added to the socks. I have been very impressed with these socks from the beginning and I don’t suspect that will ever stop any time soon.

After my experience at the conference listening to the data and research Ran and the rest of the Siren team have gathered, I'm convinced that these socks are the wave of the future and a limb-saving tool for so many. I'm really looking forward to seeing what other advances in healthcare technology Siren will create in the future!

Being a part of DFCon 2018 was really awesome and enlightening, and I'm happy I was able to be able to be a part of it. I hope that my continued feedback and input will continue to be a helpful part of the advancement of Siren Socks.

Thank you Siren for allowing me to educate and be educated!

Are you a podiatrist, or professional? You can get involved with Siren by sending us an email or calling us anytime.

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5 Diabetes-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes

November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving is all about spending time with your family and loved ones - and the turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and gravy. If you live with diabetes, Thanksgiving can be challenging when it comes to managing your blood sugar.

The good news is that you can still enjoy Thanksgiving while keeping an eye on what you eat. Here are 5 diabetes-friendly recipes you can use that are not only delicious for you and your family, but also help keep your carbs and sugar in check.

Million Dollar Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Try this low-carb version of the holiday crowd-pleaser made with spaghetti squash instead of pasta. It has all of the cheesy goodness with much fewer carbs.

Green Beans with Roasted Almonds

These green beans provide a perfect crispy side dish alongside your turkey and stuffing. The almonds add an extra crunch!

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Did someone say pumpkin spice? Pumpkin-flavored desserts are one the trademarks of any cozy fall meal. Try this low-carb, gluten-free recipe, a surefire favorite for everyone at your Thanksgiving meal!

Rustic Mashed Potatoes with Olive Oil and Garlic

These mashed potatoes have none of the heavy cream or butter, but all of the flavor!

Low-Carb Cornbread

Cornbread is one of the ultimate comfort foods. Jalapenos and bacon add a twist to classic cornbread with this keto-friendly, low carb recipe.

For more tips about how you can enjoy and celebrate Thanksgiving worry-free, check out our post on 7 tips for managing your diabetes this Thanksgiving.

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5 Diabetes-Related Skin Conditions You Should Know

November 15, 2018

Diabetes can affect your body in different ways. One of those ways is your skin. Up to one-third of people with diabetes will experience skin problems related to their diabetes.

Why do people with diabetes develop skin conditions?

Over time, elevated blood sugar levels tend to reduce blood flow to your skin. This can also cause damage to blood vessels and nerves. Decreased blood circulation leads to changes in your skin's collagen, which changes your skin's texture, appearance, and ability to heal.

What kinds of skin issues should people with diabetes look for?

Here are 5 of the most common skin conditions you should know if you have diabetes:

1) Bacterial Infections

One of the most common skin issues that may come up is bacterial infections. If you have a bacterial infection, your skin will usually be painful, swollen, red, and hot to the touch. Some the infections you might see are:

  • Styes (infections of the glands of your eyelid)
  • Boils
  • Folliculitis (infections of your hair follicles)
  • Carbuncles (deep infections of your skin and the tissue underneath)
  • Infections around your nails

You can usually treat bacterial infections with antibiotics and by controlling your blood sugar.

2) Fungal Infections

Fungal infections, caused by the spread of fungus or yeast, are also something you might see on your skin. They're often caused by a fungus called Candida albicans, which thrives off high levels of glucose.

Fungal infections often look like red rashes and occur in parts of your body that tend to keep in moisture, such as the folds in your skin. These rashes are often itchy and surrounded by scales or blisters. Some common fungal infections include ringworm, athlete's foot, and yeast infections.

Fungal infections can be treated with prescription medication and good diabetes management.

3) Dry, Itchy Skin

Diabetes can cause extremely dry, itchy skin. Dryness and itchiness might be the result of a yeast infection, dry skin, or poor circulation. If it's due to poor circulation, the itchiest areas may by lower parts of your legs.

You can do some things at home to help with itchy and dry skin. Reduce how often you bathe, especially in places with low humidity. Use mild soap made for sensitive skin and always apply a moisturizer or skin cream after your showers or baths.

4) Diabetic Dermopathy

This skin condition is also known as "shin spots." If you have diabetic dermopathy, the main thing you will notice is light brown, oval or circular scaly patches of skin, often on your shins. You might mistake them for age spots, but these patches are due to damage to the small blood vessels that supply your tissue with nutrients and oxygen.

Diabetic dermopathy is not harmful and does not need to be treated, but oftentimes does not go away, even when blood sugar levels are under control.

5) Eruptive Xanthomatosis

Eruptive xanthomatosis is another skin condition that might occur when your blood sugar levels are too high. Insulin resistance can lead to waxy, yellow, pea-like bumps on your skin. The bumps might itch and be surrounded by red circles. You'll most often see them your face or groin, but they can also appear in other places on your body.

These bumps will normally disappear once your blood sugar levels are correctly managed.

What can people with diabetes do to prevent skin conditions?

The best way to prevent skin problems is to manage your diabetes well and keep blood sugar within recommended levels. When diabetes affects your skin, it is a sign that your blood sugar levels are too high. Talk to your doctor about coming up with a plan to manage your blood sugar through medication, diet, and exercise.

You should also practice good skin care. Taking care of your skin every day can keep your skin healthy and also make you more aware of changes to your skin. Here are some things you can do:

  • Check your feet regularly and tell your doctor if you notice any broken skin, calluses, or blisters on your feet. Even small injuries can become more serious for people with diabetes, so make sure you keep an extra close watch.
  • Make sure the water in your shower or bath is not too hot.
  • Use a mild soap when you bathe and moisturize with lotion after you get out of the shower or bath
  • Dry your skin carefully after bathing and apply talc or anti-fungal powder to any folds in your skin and might stay wet or moist such as your underarms, groin, between your toes, or under your breasts.

The good news: most of these skin conditions can be prevented or easily treated if caught early. If you notice any of these skin conditions or other unusual changes in your skin, talk to your doctor or dermatologist right away.

For more tips on how to take care of your feet, read our recent post on 5 steps towards healthy feet.

If you think you have a skin condition related to diabetes, contact your doctor or dermatologist immediately. Treatment is different from person to person. If you have diabetes, make sure that you see a podiatrist at least once a year. Your podiatrist can help you learn about your specific risks when it comes to skin issues.

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Siren Wins ADA Annual Leaders Forum Healthtech Showcase!

November 6, 2018

We're very excited and proud to announce that Siren is the winner of the American Diabetes Association's 23rd Annual Leaders Forum Healthtech Showcase!

The Annual Leaders Forum Healthtech Showcase is a competition that celebrates new advancements in healthcare technology. All proceeds from the event support the ADA's mission to prevent and cure diabetes, and improve the lives of people affected by diabetes.

Over 50 health and technology companies shared their products during the showcase. At our booth, we got the chance to meet and exchange ideas with so many other companies and people working in the technology and healthcare space. We were excited to share more about our Siren Socks and what makes them special.

Siren was selected as one of the final three companies compete for the grand prize and present on stage! The audience got to vote for the company they thought should win the grand prize of $10,000 and be awarded the most innovative.

Our CEO, Ran, shared how our socks use temperature monitoring technology to help people with diabetes and neuropathy avoid foot ulcers and amputations. One of the highlights was having one of our Siren users, Marc, joined us on stage for a live demo of the socks in action!

The Siren team is proud to have won the ADA Healthtech Leadership Showcase in support of the ADA's mission to help those living with diabetes. It was extra special to share the experience with one of our first users. We couldn't have won without the support of Marc and everyone else who has been wearing our socks from day one!

Do you work in the health or are you interested in learning more about our technology? Learn more about Siren by visiting our website or sending us an email or calling us anytime.

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Can I Drink Alcohol If I Have Diabetic Neuropathy?

October 29, 2018

When you have diabetes, it's important to watch what you eat and drink. What you put into your body directly affects your blood sugar levels. People who have diabetes need to control their blood sugar to reduce risks, so choosing what you put into your body is one of the most important tools you have to stay healthy and avoid problems.

Alcohol affects everyone differently. When it comes to alcohol, you need to keep a close eye on what and how much you drink. You should always talk to your doctor and your healthcare team so that you understand the effects of alcohol on your body and what you can do to manage them.

What happens when you drink?

Alcohol can have an effect on your blood sugar. Your liver's job is to regulate your blood glucose level. When you drink, your liver tries to detox your body of that alcohol and is not focused on managing your blood glucose levels. If you have diabetes, this can create problems. Your blood sugar levels can either spike (hyperglycemia) or fall (hypoglycemia).

Alcohol-Induced Hyperglycemia with Diabetes

Hyperglycemia is when your blood sugar levels become extremely high. Mixed drinks are often full of sugar (think margarita mix, pina coladas, or sugary chasers), which raises your blood sugar. When your blood sugar gets to a certain level (usually 180 to 200 mg/dL), you can become tired, thirsty, need to urinate frequently, and in serious cases, you may get diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a complication of diabetes that happens when your body breaks down fat too fast and makes your blood acidic.

Alcohol-Induced Hypoglycemia with Diabetes

Alcohol also decreases your liver's efficiency at releasing glucose and can lower your blood sugar to dangerous levels, which is called hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is when you don't have enough glucose in your bloodstream, so your blood glucose levels dip too low. When you have hypoglycemia, you can become drowsy and unsteady with slurred speech and, in worse cases, you can become unconscious or have seizures.

Alcohol and Diabetic Neuropathy

If you have diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage caused by diabetes, you should talk to your doctor before consuming any alcohol. Nerves are very sensitive to alcohol and drinking can make nerve damage from diabetes worse. It might increase any pain, burning, tingling, and numbness you might already be experiencing from your neuropathy. It also make it harder for your body to control the pain, which can make your symptoms feel worse.

Always talk to your doctor and your healthcare team and make sure that they help you develop a plan not only when it comes to the food you eat, but also what you're drinking.

Interested in learning more about some of the doctors you can talk to if you have diabetic neuropathy and want to learn more about consuming alcohol? Check out our recent blog on "The Doctors That Can Help You with Your Diabetic Neuropathy."

Disclaimer: Diabetic neuropathy symptoms may vary from individual to individual. Please consult with your doctor before pursuing any of the actions listed above.

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Shunta Blog Post #1

How I Discovered I Have Neuropathy

October 19, 2018

This post was written by Shunta B, from Texas. She has type 2 diabetes and is a user of the Siren Diabetic Sock and Foot Monitoring System.

I can remember it like it was yesterday, and not a happy day either.  A day filled with a lot of pain, fear and anger. It’s bad enough I was cursed with type 2 Diabetes, but now I will have to endure all of the complications and side effects that come along with this horrible disease. I work in a hospital, long hours, especially on my feet. So, being in a profession where I am required to be on my feet for 10 plus hours a day was not helping my situation either. The constant burning, tingling, numbness and swelling were becoming so unbearable. I wished I could screw my feet off and replace them.  After my visit with my endocrinologist and telling her about all of my symptoms she uttered those words: “diabetic neuropathy.” Diabetic neuropathy, what is it? How did I get it? What did I do to cause this? After reading about it I wished I had never heard of it.

Once I got over the initial shock and realized that there was no going back, I decided I am not going to let this take over my life. I am determined to fight and try to ease the pain as much as I can. After getting medication and learning to live with the pain I feel on a day-to-day basis and changing my eating habits, I am determined to fight the good fight.

Medications and research are just a few ways I am learning live with the pain.  I also find myself to read and learn about the power of positive thinking and mental healing. I also look for socks, shoes, oils, and creams that will help relieve this forever pain, burning and tingling in my feet.  I check my feet every day, I try to get massages when time allows, and I make sure I have comfortable shoes to wear for work and for everyday life.

As much as I would like to get rid of diabetic neuropathy, I know it’s not going to happen so I will have to learn to live with it and learn and be a support system for anyone I can help.

If I could turn back the hands of time, I would do everything not to even have type 2 or any of the problems that come with it. For anyone that has diabetic neuropathy, my heart goes out to you and I hope reading this will give you the power and ability to endure. I pray that one day there is a cure and no one has to go through this pain.

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