Motor Neuropathy Care- Long Term Strategies are Key

If you are a regular NeuropathyDR® blog reader, you know that we tend to focus on the latest developments and research in treating neuropathy pain.  With peripheral neuropathy, though, pain is only one component.  This week, we’re going to talk about how neuropathy can affect your muscles, also called motor neuropathy.

There are essentially three kinds of motor neuropathy.  The first is the overall weakening effect of the muscles, especially in the extremities, which often accompanies peripheral neuropathy.  This can occur because the nerves which control motor function in the muscles have become damaged, or—in the case of a compression neuropathy—constricted.  The second kind is called multifocal motor neuropathy, and takes place when the immune system itself begins to attack the nerves, as can happen after a series of infections or after an illness.  The third kind is Hereditary Motor Sensory Neuropathy, which, as the name suggests, is genetic in nature.  Hereditary Motor Sensory Neuropathy, or HMSN, occurs when there is a naturally-occurring deterioration in the nerves that control the muscles, causing the muscles to not be used, become weak, or even atrophy.

Motor neuropathy usually starts in the hands and feet, and can affect the full extension of fingers and toes.  In addition to the dexterity problems this obviously causes, it often also has a visual appearance of “clawlike” fingers.  The condition is degenerative, getting worse over a period of months and years.  Twitching and spasms can also happen in affected limbs.  While motor issues associated with peripheral neuropathy usually accompany pain, tingling, and numbness, multifocal motor neuropathy involves no pain (only the motor nerves are affected).  Generally, none of the varieties of motor neuropathy are life-threatening, although they can absolutely impact your comfort and quality of life if you suffer from them.

When we met our patient Robert, he complained of a steady and declining loss of strength in his feet, which he had experienced over the past 4 years.  Robert had had cancer during that time, culminating in having his prostate removed.  His motor neuropathy caused Robert to have trouble walking or standing for long periods, and he even had trouble feeling his feet on some occasions.  He also complained of shooting pain, tingling, and soreness in his feet, all typical calling cards of peripheral neuropathy.  Since in cases of multifocal motor neuropathy, the sensory nerves are usually unaffected, Robert’s pain and numbness ruled that out.  Sure enough, when we performed a battery of tests, we found that Robert’s sensation to vibration was all but gone in several places on his feet.

Motor Neuropathy is Characterized by Weakness of The Muscles

Robert did not respond with the typical level of relief we usually see after treating a patient with electro-stimulation.  Over the course of three treatment sessions, Robert’s level of strength and comfort in his feet did not change in any meaningful way.  While this is unusual, it highlights an important theme: neuropathy is a complex problem with many symptoms and manifestations, and NO single therapy technique or tool—even those with a very high rate of success—can stand on their own as a complete treatment.

We designed a treatment for Robert intended to produce more long-term benefit, as his short-term progress was not substantial.  Motor neuropathies require an extensive MULTI-MODAL level of treatment, sometimes pharmaceutical and sometimes homeopathic, and usually involving some level of regular exercise and controlled diet.  Robert is currently improving steadily, and is seeing his NeuropathyDR® clinician as prescribed to monitor his condition and progress.

If you suffer from weakness or pain in your limbs, you may have peripheral neuropathy.  If so, we are here to help!  Contact NeuropathyDR® right away and we will help you find the best course of treatment for your specific symptoms.  We can even put you in touch with a specially-trained NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you develop a therapy plan that will get results.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multifocal_neuropathy/multifocal_neuropathy.htm

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multifocal_neuropathy/multifocal_neuropathy.htm

 

Neuropathic Nutrition!

One main factor in many cases of peripheral neuropathy is diet.  You probably know that neuropathy is linked to diabetes and other conditions where daily intake of sugars and nutrients is important, but your diet can also influence the condition of nerves in more direct ways, such as in cases where a nutritional deficiency is causing neuropathic damage.

One of the most common links between neuropathy and nutrition is a deficiency in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B-12.  Fight neuropathy by eating foods like meat, fish, and eggs that are all high in B vitamins.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry!  There are many kinds of fortified cereals that contain substantial amounts of B vitamins as well (in addition to supplements, which we’ll talk about in a moment).

The Mayo Clinic recommends a diet high in fruits and vegetables for people who suffer from neuropathy.  Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients that have been shown to be effective treating neuropathy.  Additionally, if you suffer from diabetes, fresh produce can mellow your blood sugar levels.  If numbness or pain in your extremities is severe, keep pre-cut fruit and vegetables at the ready, so you don’t have to worry about the stress involved with preparing them! Just be careful of too much fruit sugars. This means a serving is 1/2 apple, banana, etc. Most non-starchy vegetables like greens and asparagus especially are great for most of us.

Foods that are high in Vitamin E are also good for neuropathy, according to neurology.com.  A deficiency of Vitamin E can happen in cases where malabsorption or malnutrition are taking place, such as the case with alcoholic neuropathy.  Breakfast cereals, whole grains, vegetables and nuts are all excellent sources of vitamin E.

Lean proteins are also an important part of a healthy diet for people with neuropathy.  Saturated fats and fried foods increase risk of diabetes and heart disease, in addition to aggravating nerve decay from lack of nutrients.  A variety of foods—skinless white-meat poultry, legumes, tofu, fish, and low-fat yogurt—are good sources of lean protein.  If you suffer from diabetes, lean proteins also help to regulate blood sugar levels.  Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines are good for maintaining levels of Omega-3 acids, healthy fats the body needs but cannot produce on its own.

For specific types of neuropathy, research shows that specific antioxidants may help slow or even reverse nerve damage that has not existed for too long a time.  For HIV sensory neuropathy, Acetyl-L-Carnitine has demonstrated good results, and Alpha lipoic acid is being studied for its effects on diabetic nerve damage.  Consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician for the latest research before beginning any supplementation or treatment, even with antioxidants.

Use Tools Like Journaling and Blood Sugar Monitoring Every Day...

So what are the best ways to monitor what you are eating?  The easiest way is to keep a food journal.  Record everything you eat at meals, for snacks, and any vitamin supplements you might be taking.  Your journal will help you and your NeuropathyDR® clinician determine if your diet could be a factor in your neuropathy symptoms!  As a bonus, food journaling is a great way to be accountable for your overall nutrition, as well as to help avoid dietary-related conditions other than neuropathy.  If you have a goal for weight loss, weight gain, or better overall energy, those are other areas in which keeping a food journal can help!  Other ways to monitor what you eat include cooking at home as opposed to going out to restaurants, keeping a shopping list instead of deciding what groceries to buy at the store, and consulting a nutritionist or qualified NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best ways to meet your specific needs.

Dietary supplements can also help manage neuropathic symptoms and nerve degeneration.  Supplementing B Vitamins, particularly vitamin B-12, can help regulate your nutrient levels and prevent neuropathy symptoms.  Supplementing with fish oil can help replenish Omega-3 fatty acids, which are important if you suffer from type-II diabetes. Many other types of supplements can be beneficial if you suffer from neuropathy; consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician for specific recommendations.

Contact us if you have any questions about proper eating when it comes to your neuropathy.  We can help you find the information you need and put you in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you with this and other neuropathy-related questions!

 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peripheral-neuropathy/DS00131/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies

http://www.foundationforpn.org/livingwithperipheralneuropathy/neuropathynutrition/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/82184-foods-fight-neuropathy/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/121841-nutrients-neuropathy/

 

Entrapment Neuropathy: More Than Just Carpal Tunnel!

Entrapment Neuropathy:  More Than Just Carpal Tunnel!

Last week we talked about carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), one of the most common forms of neuropathy affecting a single nerve (mononeuropathy).  What you might not know is that carpal tunnel syndrome is only one of a family of ailments in the upper limbs known as entrapment neuropathies.  The other entrapment neuropathies are not as well-known in the mainstream as CTS, and so people who suffer from nerve symptoms in their forearms and hands frequently jump to conclusions.  NeuropathyDR® is here to help set the record straight!

An entrapment neuropathy, also called nerve compression syndrome, occurs when a nerve is wedged or “pinched” against a bone, inflamed muscle, or other internal mechanism in your arm.  Aside from the median nerve (the one associated with CTS) there are two main nerves that help to control your arm and hand: the radial nerve and the ulnar nerve.  Both are susceptible to compression, and the results can be painful!

Entrapment occurs under a number of conditions, most commonly:

  • When there is an injury originating at your neck or a disease of the cervical spine
  • When your elbow has been injured due to fractures or improper use
  • When your wrist has been injured due to fractures or Guyon canal alignment problems
  • An aneurysm or thrombosis in your arteries
  • Factors commonly associated with peripheral neuropathy, such as diabetes, rheumatism, alcoholism, or infection

Your radial nerve runs the length of your arm, and is responsible for both movement and sensation.  Radial neuropathy usually occurs at the back of the elbow, and can present itself with many of the common symptoms of neuropathy such as tingling, loss of sensation, weakness and reduced muscle control (in this case, often difficulty in turning your palm upwards with your elbow extended).

A number of palsies affect the radial nerve, such as:

  • Saturday night palsy (also called Honeymooner’s palsy), where your radial nerve is compressed in your upper arm by falling asleep in a position where pressure is exerted on it by either furniture or a bed partner
  • Crutch palsy, where your nerve is pinched by poorly-fitted axillary crutches
  • Handcuff neuropathy, wherein tight handcuffs compress your radial nerve at your wrists

    Peripheral neuropathy is not a condition forgiving of delayed treatment. The longer you wait, the more severe and long-lasting (potentially permanent) your nerve damage can be.

Two main conditions affect the ulnar nerve: Guyon’s canal syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome.  Guyon’s canal syndrome is almost exactly the same in symptoms as carpal tunnel syndrome (pain and tingling in the palm and first three fingers), but involves a completely different nerve.  Guyon’s canal syndrome is caused by pressure on your wrists, often by resting them at a desk or workstation, and is frequently experienced by cyclists due to pressure from the handlebars.

Nearly everyone has experienced cubital tunnel syndrome: it’s the “dead arm” sensation we’ve all felt when we wake up after sleeping on top of our arm!  Sleeping with your arm folded up compresses the ulnar nerve at your shoulder, causing it to effectively “cut off” feeling to your arm.  As you probably know from experience, this sensation is unsettling but temporary.

Diagnosis for all compression neuropathies is fairly consistent: your NeuropathyDR® clinician will examine your arms for signs of neuropathy, and will likely ask you to perform several demonstrations of dexterity.  If your clinician suspects you may have an underlying condition, nerve or blood tests may be recommended.  To pinpoint the specific location of a compression, your clinician may also suggest MRI or x-ray scans.

Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, most cases of compression neuropathy are mild. Treatment for these mild cases involves ice, rest, and a change in habits of motion or stress that are causing the symptoms.  For more severe cases, your clinician may prescribe painkillers or anti-inflammatories, and in extreme cases, a surgical solution is sometimes justified.

If you suffer from a compression neuropathy or have questions about this or any other kind of neuropathy, NeuropathyDR® can help!  Contact us, and we can answer your questions and put you in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area who has been specially trained to treat any symptoms you might have.  As with any neuropathy, don’t wait!  The sooner a condition is diagnosed, the more options for treatment your clinician will have.

 

http://www.mdguidelines.com/neuropathy-of-radial-nerve-entrapment

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1285531-overview

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1244885-overview

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2599973/?tool=pmcentrez

 

Neuropathy and Exercise

If you suffer from neuropathy, you know that the pain, muscle control problems, and overall health complications can make even everyday activities harder to manage.  For some, the prospect of exercising while suffering from neuropathy will seem not only unrealistic but an almost ironic misplacement of priorities.  Exercise is important for everyone, though, and in sufferers of neuropathy, can help control blood sugar and actually slow down the progression and symptoms of the condition!

Exercising regularly greatly decreases anyone’s risk of diabetic neuropathy, and has been shown to control symptoms and deterioration in sufferers by elevating overall blood flow to the limbs and controlling cardiovascular atrophy.  Depending on your specific type of neuropathy, areas affected, and the extent of the damage, you will have to adjust conventional workout routines to accommodate the condition.  Ask your NeuropathyDR® clinician if you have questions, and be sure to consult them before beginning any workout program.  Your clinician will inspect your feet and legs for signs of potential problems, and will help you make sure your shoes are properly fitted so as to avoid neuropathy-related injuries.

Additionally:

  • Use silica gel or air midsoles
  • Use polyester or polyester/cotton blend socks to keep your feet dry
  • Avoid any workout clothes that rub against your skin in the same area.

Ann Albright of the Division of Diabetes Translation in Atlanta cautions that neuropathy patients will want to steer clear of most repetitive or weight-bearing exercise, such as running, walking, or extensive weight training (although some sources advocate weight training as beneficial, in moderation).  So which exercises are the most beneficial while reducing risk?

Don't Neglect Stretching and Core Activities...

Swimming is one of the best exercises, as it is an activity adaptable to any age, fitness level, or degree of neuropathy symptoms.  Swimming is also a full-body, “no-impact” workout, and so is less harmful to your joints, legs, and feet than most other forms of exercise, without sacrificing circulation (ask any lap swimmer and they’ll tell you—swimming has no problem getting your heart rate up!)  As such, it is highly recommended for almost anyone.

Bicycling, rowing, and use of a stationary bicycle are other excellent, low-impact activities that can be safely integrated into a neuropathy treatment program. Some organizations have even developed exercise programs for senior citizens suffering from neuropathy, incorporating a heavy emphasis on seated exercises.

If you don’t have regular access to facilities or equipment for more extensive exercise, there are some basic exercises you can do almost anywhere that can help your neuropathy!  Here are some to try:

  • For your hands, touch the pad of your thumb with your index finger, running the finger down to the base of your thumb. Then, repeat the movement with the index, middle, ring, and little fingers. Do this exercise several times.
  • For your legs and feet, straighten one knee and point your foot.  Flex your ankle five times, then circle your foot five times in each direction, clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • To increase balance, try this exercise: from a standing position, rise up slowly on your tiptoes, and then rock backward onto your heels. Keep your knees straight, but try not to lock them.

Additional precautions are vital for neuropathy patients to observe.  After every workout session, patients should remember to check their feet and any relevant extremities for blisters, irritation, or sores. These could be vulnerable to infections, which themselves could elevate risk for amputation.

It is important for neuropathy sufferers to be mindful of their heart rate and blood pressure.  Especially if you suffer from autonomic neuropathy, which can greatly increase risk of heart failure or cardiac arrest, be aware of your limitations when it comes to safe exercise.  Don’t worry—there’s a way for everyone to exercise safely.  If you have any doubts, consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician to review your workout plan.

Finally, be sure to monitor your body temperature.  Neuropathy sufferers are at high risk when it comes to overheating, since some types of neuropathy can reduce the body’s ability to temperature-control.  Consult your clinician if sweating seems overly profuse or the opposite, less than normal.

If you have any questions about exercising with neuropathy, contact us!  We can answer your questions and help put you in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you in person.  Have a great workout!

 

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5162775_exercise-peripheral-neuropathy.html

http://journal.diabetes.org/diabetesspectrum/98v11n4/pg231.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/99573-exercise-peripheral-neuropathy/

http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20189334,00.html

http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20188832,00.html

 

Neuropathy and Exercise

If you suffer from neuropathy, you know that the pain, muscle control problems, and overall health complications can make even everyday activities harder to manage.  For some, the prospect of exercising while suffering from neuropathy will seem not only unrealistic but an almost ironic misplacement of priorities.  Exercise is important for everyone, though, and in sufferers of neuropathy, can help control blood sugar and actually slow down the progression and symptoms of the condition!

Exercising regularly greatly decreases anyone’s risk of diabetic neuropathy, and has been shown to control symptoms and deterioration in sufferers by elevating overall blood flow to the limbs and controlling cardiovascular atrophy.  Depending on your specific type of neuropathy, areas affected, and the extent of the damage, you will have to adjust conventional workout routines to accommodate the condition.  Ask your NeuropathyDR® clinician if you have questions, and be sure to consult them before beginning any workout program.  Your clinician will inspect your feet and legs for signs of potential problems, and will help you make sure your shoes are properly fitted so as to avoid neuropathy-related injuries.

Additionally:

  • Use silica gel or air midsoles
  • Use polyester or polyester/cotton blend socks to keep your feet dry
  • Avoid any workout clothes that rub against your skin in the same area.

Ann Albright of the Division of Diabetes Translation in Atlanta cautions that neuropathy patients will want to steer clear of most repetitive or weight-bearing exercise, such as running, walking, or extensive weight training (although some sources advocate weight training as beneficial, in moderation).  So which exercises are the most beneficial while reducing risk?

Don't Neglect Stretching and Core Activities...

Swimming is one of the best exercises, as it is an activity adaptable to any age, fitness level, or degree of neuropathy symptoms.  Swimming is also a full-body, “no-impact” workout, and so is less harmful to your joints, legs, and feet than most other forms of exercise, without sacrificing circulation (ask any lap swimmer and they’ll tell you—swimming has no problem getting your heart rate up!)  As such, it is highly recommended for almost anyone.

Bicycling, rowing, and use of a stationary bicycle are other excellent, low-impact activities that can be safely integrated into a neuropathy treatment program. Some organizations have even developed exercise programs for senior citizens suffering from neuropathy, incorporating a heavy emphasis on seated exercises.

If you don’t have regular access to facilities or equipment for more extensive exercise, there are some basic exercises you can do almost anywhere that can help your neuropathy!  Here are some to try:

  • For your hands, touch the pad of your thumb with your index finger, running the finger down to the base of your thumb. Then, repeat the movement with the index, middle, ring, and little fingers. Do this exercise several times.
  • For your legs and feet, straighten one knee and point your foot.  Flex your ankle five times, then circle your foot five times in each direction, clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • To increase balance, try this exercise: from a standing position, rise up slowly on your tiptoes, and then rock backward onto your heels. Keep your knees straight, but try not to lock them.

    Gentle massage & manual stimulation in the clinic helps speed recovery...

Additional precautions are vital for neuropathy patients to observe.  After every workout session, patients should remember to check their feet and any relevant extremities for blisters, irritation, or sores. These could be vulnerable to infections, which themselves could elevate risk for amputation.

It is important for neuropathy sufferers to be mindful of their heart rate and blood pressure.  Especially if you suffer from autonomic neuropathy, which can greatly increase risk of heart failure or cardiac arrest, be aware of your limitations when it comes to safe exercise.  Don’t worry—there’s a way for everyone to exercise safely.  If you have any doubts, consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician to review your workout plan.

Finally, be sure to monitor your body temperature.  Neuropathy sufferers are at high risk when it comes to overheating, since some types of neuropathy can reduce the body’s ability to temperature-control.  Consult your clinician if sweating seems overly profuse or the opposite, less than normal.

If you have any questions about exercising with neuropathy, contact us!  We can answer your questions and help put you in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician who can help you in person.  Have a great workout!

 

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5162775_exercise-peripheral-neuropathy.html

http://journal.diabetes.org/diabetesspectrum/98v11n4/pg231.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/99573-exercise-peripheral-neuropathy/

http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20189334,00.html

http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20188832,00.html

 

Even Healthy People Can Develop Neuropathy


Diabetes…

Lupus…

Cancer and chemotherapy…

Any of these conditions can lead to peripheral neuropathy…

But what you might not realize is that you can develop peripheral neuropathy even if you’re perfectly healthy.

Athletes who take part in sports that require consistent overhead movement of the arms (like tennis, baseball, kayaking, volleyball) place a lot of strain on their shoulders.  That places them at a much higher risk of overuse injuries.

And that can lead to a very specific type of neuropathy – suprascapular neuropathy.

What is Suprascapular Neuropathy[1]?

Suprascapular neuropathy- that’s a real mouthful isn’t it?  It may sound complicated but it really isn’t.

Suprascalupar neuropathy is nerve damage to the suprascapular nerve – the nerve that runs from the brachial plexus (a group of nerves in the neck and shoulders) to nerves that help the body fully rotate the arms.  Suprascapular neuropathy causes shoulder pain and weakness and can lead to career ending pain for professional athletes or stop weekend warriors from doing what they love.

The most common symptoms of suprascapular neuropathy are[2]:

–   Deep, dull aching pain in the shoulder

–   Weakness or muscle pain

–   Frozen shoulder (inability to move the shoulder)

–  Numbness and tingling

If any of these symptoms are keeping you sidelined, talk to your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician today.

Exactly What Causes Suprascapular Neuropathy?

As the suprascapular nerve passes over the shoulder blade, it can be compressed and stretched.  When that happens repeatedly over a period of time, the nerve can become damaged and neuropathy develops. The first symptoms are usually pain and weakness when you try to rotate the shoulder.  More than just being uncomfortable, the pain can disrupt your life on a daily basis.

Imagine trying to put on a t-shirt or reach for a can on the top shelf of your pantry with a frozen or extremely painful shoulder…

If your experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician immediately to determine if you have nerve damage.  You’ll need to start treatment immediately to prevent permanent damage.

What You Can Expect From Treatment

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will start with nerve conduction studies to find out exactly where the nerves are damaged.  Electromyography will show exactly how severe the damage is.

Once you know for sure you have suprascapular neuropathy, the first step will be stop participating in the sport that caused the injury (until the damage is repaired).

Next, you’ll start a course of physical therapy and prescribed exercise.  Therapy will concentrate on maintaining your full range of motion and strengthening your shoulder muscles.

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will employ a very specific treatment protocol depending on

–          The location of your injury and how severe it is

–          Your age, general health and typical activities

–          How long you’ve had your symptoms and whether or not they was caused by overuse or a specific injury

If your shoulder pain is keeping you on the bench and stopping you from participating in the sports you love or even from living a normal life, call your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician today.   Early intervention is one of the best ways to minimize the damage caused by suprascapular neuropathy and repair any nerve damage you may have suffered.

For more information on coping with suprascapular neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

Lupus – Not a Cookie Cutter Illness

When we hear that someone has lupus, we tend to think of it as one illness…

One illness with a very specific set of symptoms…

In both cases, we would be wrong.

Lupus is a very complex group of illnesses that not only vary by type but also in how they affect individual patients.  No two lupus patients and their symptoms are alike.

The fact is there are several types of lupus[1]:

–          Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) – the most common type of lupus and what most people are thinking of when they say someone has lupus.

–          Life Threatening Lupus – a form of SLE that affects one or more of the patient’s vital organs such as their heart, lungs, kidneys or liver.

–          Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus (CLE) – only affects the skin.

–          Drug Induced Lupus – caused by medications.  The symptoms are like the symptoms of SLE but will go away once the patient stops taking the particular medication that caused it.

–          Lupus in Overlap with other Connective Tissue Diseases – this is a type of lupus in which the patient has some other disease that affects the joints and tendons as well like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, Sjogren’s Syndrome or Vasculitis.

All of these forms of lupus are serious and incurable.  Once you have any of these forms of lupus, you have it for life.  Granted, you will have flares (episodes of active lupus symptoms) and remissions (when you’re symptoms aren’t present or are really mild), but you’re not cured.  The symptoms come and go but the illness always remains.

With all these variables, it can be tough to know if you have lupus or something else.

If have at least four of these symptoms, you need to see a doctor immediately for testing and diagnosis:[2]

∙           Chest pain when you take a deep breath or if you cough up blood

∙           Fatigue

∙           Headaches

∙           Numbness, tingling, vision problems

∙           Seizures

∙           Vision problems

∙           Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting

∙           Abnormal heart rhythms

∙           Fever for no apparent reason

∙           A general feeling of discomfort and ill feeling

∙           Hair loss

∙           Sores in your mouth

∙           Sensitivity to sunlight

∙           A rash over your cheeks and nose

∙           Swollen lymph nodes

Many of these symptoms may be caused by the damage lupus does to the peripheral nervous system or peripheral neuropathy.  Because of the effects of lupus on the nervous system, a good place to start for diagnosis and treatment would be a physician well versed in diagnosing and treating nerve diseases and damage, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Exactly Why Are Lupus and Peripheral Neuropathy So Serious?

Because the peripheral nervous system can be affected by lupus, every system of the body that is regulated by the peripheral nervous system can be damaged.

That means the nerves that control involuntary body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and perspiration.  Your body many not be able to regulate your heart rate or your blood pressure, you might not be able to properly digest your food, or your kidneys can be damaged and you could develop urinary problems.  A little less than 5% of lupus patients develop cranial neuropathy (damage to the nerves in the brain) leading to headaches, vision problems, depression, and even personality disorders.

As if that weren’t enough, lupus can cause serious problems with inflammation.  That can lead to:

–          Inflammation of the sac around the heart

–          Diseases of the heart valves

–          Inflammation of the actual heart muscle

–          Inflammation of the tissue around the lungs or pleurisy

Now, imagine having any of these issues and having peripheral neuropathy, too…

Your peripheral nerves aren’t functioning properly and can’t send the proper signals to your brain to let you know you have a problem.

You can see why this could be very serious.

If you have at least four of the above symptoms, call your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician today.   Early intervention is one of the best ways to minimize the damage caused by lupus and peripheral neuropathy.   While your lupus isn’t curable, a combination of medication and the highly specialized treatment protocol available to you through your NeuropathyDR® clinician to minimize nerve damage can make your life bearable and your symptoms manageable.

For more information on coping with lupus and peripheral neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

 

 

 

 

Acute Kidney Failure and Its Deadly Sidekick – Uremic Neuropathy

 

 

Doctor

This requires comprehensive medical care...

When you hear the words “acute kidney failure”, what do you think of?

Dialysis?

Hospitalization?

Symptoms too obvious to ignore?

Then you might be surprised to learn that acute kidney failure often doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms.  Many times it’s detected when the patient is already in the hospital for something else and evidence is found through tests.

When the symptoms finally do appear, they’re usually

∙           Swelling, especially in the legs and feet

∙           Cramps, muscle twitching or muscle weakness

∙           Little or no urine output

∙           Thirst and a dry mouth

∙           Dizziness

∙           Rapid heart rate

∙           Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite

∙           Confusion

∙           Anxiety or restlessness

∙           Pain on one side of the back just below the rib cage but above the waist

∙           Fatigue

While none of these symptoms appear to be life threatening on their own, in combination they can be a sign of a deadly illness – acute kidney failure.  And the root cause of many of these symptoms is a serious complication of kidney failure – uremic neuropathy.  Uremic neuropathy or neuropathy associated with kidney failure is a very common complication of kidney failure.

If you have two or more of these symptoms, you need to see a doctor immediately.  A good place to start would be a physician well versed in diagnosing and treating nerve disease and damage, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

What Is Uremic Neuropathy[1]?

Uremic neuropathy is a type of neuropathy caused by an increase in uremic toxins in the blood (the toxins urine usually removed from the body when the kidneys function properly.) The severity of your uremic neuropathy is directly linked to the severity of your kidney failure.  If your kidney failure is acute, your uremic neuropathy is pretty serious.

There are several conditions that cause kidney failure that will make it more likely that you’ll develop uremic neuropathy because they directly affect the central and/or peripheral nervous system.  The more common ones are:

∙           Diabetes

∙           Systemic lupus

∙           Hepatic (liver) failure

How Can Kidney Failure Lead to Neuropathy?

Neuropathy is one of the worst results of chronic kidney disease[2].  Acute kidney failure damages the kidneys.  When the kidneys are damaged fluids, waste products and toxins build up in the body.   Because many organs and bodily systems (particularly the nervous system) are directly affected by this build up of toxins, acute kidney failure leads to overall poor health and inflammation and nerve damage.

Once the nerves are damaged, they cease to function properly.  One complication leads to another and, in 20% to 50% of patients with acute kidney failure, you develop uremic neuropathy.

If you have one of the conditions we listed above that directly affect the nervous system, pay particular attention to your daily state of health.  If you develop any of the symptoms of kidney failure, contact your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician immediately for treatment.

Treatment and Prognosis

Uremic neuropathy is a serious condition that can arise from acute kidney failure.  Your best course of action is to catch your kidney issues before they become acute and you develop uremic neuropathy.

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you and your other physicians to treat your neuropathy and manage your underlying condition.  They do this through:

∙           Diet Planning and Nutritional Support

You need to give your body the nutrition it needs to heal.

A low protein diet is best for patients with kidney disease.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR® clinician about a diet plan that will work for you.

If you have diabetes, you need to follow a diet specifically designed for diabetics and     to control your blood sugar.

∙          Individually Designed Exercise Programs

If you experience dizziness, rapid heart rate, extreme thirst or issues with impaired sensation in your feet and legs, you have to be every careful with your exercise program.  Make sure that you don’t overexert yourself, take it slowly.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician can design an exercise program specifically for you that will allow you to exercise but won’t push you beyond what your body is capable of.  And, even more importantly, they will continually monitor your progress and adjust your program as needed.

These changes in conjunction with medications and possibly dialysis will make it easier to live with acute kidney failure and uremic neuropathy. Early intervention with a NeuropathyDR® clinician is still the best policy if you have any of the underlying conditions that can cause uremic neuropathy.  If you already have symptoms, start treatment immediately.

For more information on coping with autonomic neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

 

 

 

 


[1] www.kidney.org/professionals/kdoqi/guidelines_ckd/p6_comp_g11.htm

[2] http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/chronic-kidney-disease-topic-overview

One More Symptom of STD’s – Peripheral Neuropathy

If you’ve been diagnosed with one or more of these sexually transmitted diseases:

•     HIV/AIDS

•     Genital Herpes (or any one of the large number of herpes-simplex viruses)

•     Gonorrhea

•     Syphilis

•     Chlamydia

•     Hepatitis B and D

•     HPV (Human papillomavirus infection)

Yes, we said one or more.

Because of the way sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) are spread, it’s not uncommon to be infected with more than one STD through a single encounter.  For example, about half of the people who are infected in a single sexual encounter with Chlamydia are also infected with gonorrhea at the same time.[1]

If you’ve been diagnosed with an STD and you’re now experiencing

•     Extreme fatigue

•     Headaches

•     Painful, swollen joints

•     Swelling in your feet, legs or hands

•     Pleurisy

You may have yet another symptom from your STD to worry about – any of these diseases can cause peripheral neuropathy.

If it does, the pain, swelling or even loss of sensation won’t go away on its own.  And more than just causing pain, it can be deadly if the wrong nerves are affected.

How Does A Sexually Transmitted Disease Cause Peripheral Neuropathy?

Many of these STD’s are caused by viruses or bacteria.  Viruses and bacteria can attack nerve tissue and severely damage sensory nerves. If those nerves are damaged, you’re going to feel the pain, quickly.

The virus that causes HIV, in particular, can cause extensive damage to the peripheral nerves.  Often, the progression of the disease can actually be tracked according to the specific type of neuropathy the patient develops.  Painful polyneuropathy affecting the feet and hands can be one of first clinical signs of HIV infection.

Any of these viral or bacterial disorders can cause indirect nerve damage.  Those damaged nerves lead to peripheral neuropathy.

Exactly What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?

 

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that develops when the peripheral nervous system is damaged by a condition like diabetes, cancer or a sexually transmitted disease.  When these nerves are damaged, they no longer communicate properly and all the bodily functions they govern are disrupted.

Depending upon which nerves are damaged and the functions they serve, you can develop serious or even life threatening symptoms.

 

Why Should You Worry About Peripheral Neuropathy?

 

After all, you’ve already received a devastating diagnosis when you found out you had a sexually transmitted disease.  Aside from the physical discomfort, as a responsible partner you have to alter how you handle the most intimate aspect of your life.

But you should worry about peripheral neuropathy because you could develop serious problems.

If your peripheral neuropathy affects the autonomic nervous system, you could develop

•     Blood pressure problems

•     Heart rate issues

•     Bladder or bowel control issues

•     Difficulty swallowing because your esophagus doesn’t function properly

•     Bloating

•     Heart burn

•     Inability to feel sensation in your hands and feet

Beyond being uncomfortable, any of these conditions can cause serious health issues; some can even be fatal.

 

How Can You Protect Yourself?

 

If you suspect you have a sexually transmitted disease, get medical treatment immediately.  If you’re sexually active and have more than one partner, you might want to be tested even if you don’t have any of the common STD symptoms.  Often patients, especially women, are infected and have no symptoms.  Getting tested and finding out early on if you’re infected will make it less likely that you’ll develop peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage.

If you know you have a sexually transmitted disease and you’ve developed any of the peripheral neuropathy symptoms we mentioned earlier, one of the smartest things you can do for yourself to head off potential problems is to consult a specialist who treats neuropathy and will recognize problems quickly and act to resolve them.  A great place to start is with your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.  Your NeuropathyDR® specialist follows a very specific protocol specifically designed to minimize nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy.

Contact us today for information on the best course of treatment to make sure that once your sexually transmitted disease is cured or under control, you won’t carry the burden of nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy.

For more information on coping with peripheral neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

 

Peripheral Neuropathy In Your Hands and Feet – More Than Just A “Symptom”


If you have

•         Diabetes

•         Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)

•         Shingles

•         HIV/AIDS

And you‘ve noticed that, in addition to the discomfort you expected from your disease, you also have

•     Swelling in your feet, legs or hands

•     Muscle cramps in your legs

•     Changes in your skin and nails

•     Numbness in your feet and hands

•     Inability of feel heat or cold

•     Sleepless nights due to pain

•     Muscle weakness

•     Painful burning and itching in your hands or feet

•     Feeling like you’re wearing gloves or socks when you’re not

You could have another problem and it’s not just an uncomfortable symptom of your disease.

You could have peripheral neuropathy in your feet and/or hands.

What is Peripheral Neuropathy[1]?

 

Peripheral neuropathy is the damage that occurs when your peripheral nerves are damaged.  That damage can occur because of your diabetes, as a result of toxic chemotherapy, nerves being damaged by shingles, a lack of oxygen to the nerves caused by some other underlying condition or even as a result of HIV.

If you have the symptoms listed above, the nerves in your hands and feet have probably been damaged by your illness.

When you compare peripheral neuropathy to your actual illness, it may sound like it’s really no big deal.  The people around you may think you’re overreacting.  But you know how miserable it is to have constant nerve pain…to be unable to feel the simplest sensation in your hands and feet…or on the opposite end of the spectrum, to go to bed at night and be so hypersensitive that even the sheets touching your hands and feet is torture.

How Serious is Hand/Foot Peripheral Neuropathy[2]?

In your feet, it can be very serious.  How many diabetic patients have you seen with amputations below the knee?

Those amputations are usually caused by damage to the circulatory and nervous system caused by their diabetes.  Peripheral neuropathy plays a big part in these complications.

Diabetics are not the only people susceptible to peripheral neuropathy in their feet and hands.  If you are taking chemotherapy, if you have HIV/AIDS, if you’ve had shingles, or even if you’ve had some other infectious disease, you’re a candidate for peripheral neuropathy.

Think about it.

If you have a small wound on one of your feet and your neuropathy prevents you from feeling it, you’re not going to treat it properly.  Your immune system and circulatory system are compromised so the tissue doesn’t heal properly.  The next thing you know, you have a serious infection and you lose your foot.

The hands are less susceptible to something that severe (they’re closer to the heart, more active and have better blood circulation).  You use your hands more frequently and you’re much more likely to notice a wound on your hands than your feet.  That means you’ll seek treatment faster.

What You Can Do

The first thing you need to do is make sure your treating physician is aware of the problems you’re having with your feet and hands.  Then you can take steps to help yourself.

•      Get plenty of rest

•     Pace yourself and limit your activities

•     Exercise regularly – walking and swimming are good exercises for neuropathy patients

•     Take care of your skin and pay close attention to your feet and hands

•     If you smoke, stop

•     Eat a healthy, well balanced diet

If you are suffering from peripheral neuropathy in your hands and feet, pay particular attention to those areas and contact your NeuropathyDR® specialist immediately if you notice any blisters, sores, torn skin, or inflammation.   The combination of your diabetes, cancer, infectious disease or other underlying medical problem can lead to very serious infections that are slow or impossible to heal.   This can lead to dire complications that can be avoided if you receive the proper medical treatment early.

Make sure you’re doing a visual inspection and not relying on soreness or pain.  Your peripheral neuropathy will impair your ability to feel pain in your extremities and you may not notice the problem until it’s too late for successful treatment.

Assess your current medical situation and take note of any of the symptoms we described.  If you are experiencing any of these issues associated with peripheral neuropathy in your hands and feet, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of peripheral neuropathies.

For more information on coping with diabetic neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.