PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Manage underlying conditions
The best way to prevent peripheral neuropathy is to carefully manage any medical condition that puts you at risk. That means controlling your blood sugar level if you have diabetes or talking to your doctor about safe and effective treatments if you think you may have a problem with alcohol.
Make healthy lifestyle choices
Whether or not you have a medical condition, eating a healthy diet that's rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein can help keep your nerves healthy. For example, nerve damage is common if you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency. The best food sources of vitamin B-12 are meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy foods and fortified cereals. If you're a strict vegetarian, fortified cereals are a good source of vitamin B-12 for you, but you may also want to talk to your doctor about B-12 supplements. Regular exercise also is important. If possible, try to get at least 30 minutes to one hour of exercise at least three times a week.
Avoid things that can cause nerve damage as much as possible. For example:
- Repetitive motions
- Cramped positions
- Toxic chemicals
- Tobacco smoke
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Peripheral neuropathy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm. Accessed Aug. 22, 2011.
- Peripheral neuropathy. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec17/ch234/ch234h.html?qt=peripheral%20neuropathy&alt=sh#v1046209. Accessed Aug. 22, 2011.
- Pai S. Peripheral neuropathy. In: Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/156944782-3/0/1494/62.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2954-0..50019-3--cesec2_528. Accessed Aug. 25, 2011.
- Dietary supplement fact sheet: Vitamin B12. Office of Dietary Supplements. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb12.asp. Accessed Aug. 25, 2011.
- Bril V, et al. Evidence-based guideline: Treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy. Neurology. 2011;76:1758.
- Ropper AH, et al. Diseases of the peripheral nerves. In: Ropper AH, et al. Adams and Victor's Principles of Neurology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3641268. Accessed Aug. 25, 2011.
- Amato AA, et al. Peripheral neuropathy. In: Fauci AS, et al. Harrison's Principals of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9148461. Accessed Aug. 25, 2011.