Neuropathy and Sleep

It’s four in the morning and you’re still awake.  You’ve been in bed, and you should have been asleep ages ago.  Your alarm will go off in only a few hours, and you’re dreading the long day ahead that you’ll have to spend completely exhausted.

If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, this scenario is probably all too familiar.  Insomnia (lack of sleep) affects almost half of the overall population, but among neuropathy sufferers, that ratio jumps to over seventy percent.  Experts recommend between seven and nine hours of sleep for most adults, regardless of their age or gender, an intimidating goal if you’re someone whose chronic pain keeps them up at night.

Neuropathic pain can intensify in the evening hours, both in reality and in perception (fewer distractions of the day can cause a sufferer to focus more on their pain the closer they get to bedtime).

There Is No Substitute For Caring NeuropathyDR Professional To Guide You...

Research suggests that sleep apnea, a common cause of insomnia, can actually cause peripheral neuropathy, as well.  Beyond a mere relationship, studies have shown that apnea is a high-risk condition among the insulin-resistant, which could likely be affecting incidents of neuropathy among diabetics in very direct ways.

Insomnia from neuropathy can perpetuate its own problem, too.  Not only is neuropathic pain prodigious when it comes to nighttime restlessness, but the resulting lack of sleep can make the pain even worse!  Rest is essential to recovery and treatment, and lack of sleep can lower your pain threshold drastically.  You need that sleep, so what can you do?

There are several steps you can take if your neuropathy is keeping you awake at night.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician can work with you to best help your specific situation, but here are some guidelines to get you started:

  • Do your best to keep a regular sleeping schedule.  Be persistent! Getting to bed and getting up at the same times each day is one of the best ways to train your body to sleep correctly.
  • Limit your intake of caffeine and any medication that incorporates a stimulant (non-drowsy), especially in the evening hours.
  • Avoid heavy foods in the evening. Our bodies metabolize food for hours after we eat, giving us a boost of energy!  Energy is great when we need it, but can be a pain when we don’t.  Many cultures eat their biggest meal of the day in the morning and only a small snack at dinnertime for this reason.  Try it out!
  • Try turning off the TV and computer a few hours before bed.  Mileage varies from person to person, but electronics tend to stimulate the senses.   Try a book or quiet conversation, instead.
  • Adjust your environment to be ideal for sleeping.  Layer your covers to ensure you stay warm but not hot, and minimize light and noise.

There are a number of herbal and natural sleep aids as well, which may help you fall asleep quickly.  Sleep expert Elizabeth Shannon recommends entertaining a number of stress-relief methods, psychological conditioning, and homeopathic solutions for insomnia before resorting to pharmaceutical sleep aids, which can often form dependencies and, over time, exacerbate the problems associated with restlessness.  Always be cautious with medications, and consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician or other doctor before medicating.

Always remember, altering your sleep pattern won’t happen overnight (so to speak)!  It could be three to four weeks before any changes you make to your routine begin to have meaningful impact on your success getting to and staying asleep, and don’t be surprised if your restlessness gets worse before it gets better.  Contact us, and we can help you find a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area and give you even more information about how to get the rest you need while suffering from neuropathy.

http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/content/159/1/213.full

http://www.webmd.com/brain/understanding-peripheral-neuropathy-basics

http://www.sleeplessnomore.com/

http://www.neuropathy.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8145&news_iv_ctrl=1221

 

Neuropathy and Sleep

It’s four in the morning and you’re still awake.  You’ve been in bed, and you should have been asleep ages ago.  Your alarm will go off in only a few hours, and you’re dreading the long day ahead that you’ll have to spend completely exhausted.

If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, this scenario is probably all too familiar.  Insomnia (lack of sleep) affects almost half of the overall population, but among neuropathy sufferers, that ratio jumps to over seventy percent.  Experts recommend between seven and nine hours of sleep for most adults, regardless of their age or gender, an intimidating goal if you’re someone whose chronic pain keeps them up at night.

Neuropathic pain can intensify in the evening hours, both in reality and in perception (fewer distractions of the day can cause a sufferer to focus more on their pain the closer they get to bedtime).

There Is No Substitute For Caring NeuropathyDR Professional To Guide You...

Research suggests that sleep apnea, a common cause of insomnia, can actually cause peripheral neuropathy, as well.  Beyond a mere relationship, studies have shown that apnea is a high-risk condition among the insulin-resistant, which could likely be affecting incidents of neuropathy among diabetics in very direct ways.

Insomnia from neuropathy can perpetuate its own problem, too.  Not only is neuropathic pain prodigious when it comes to nighttime restlessness, but the resulting lack of sleep can make the pain even worse!  Rest is essential to recovery and treatment, and lack of sleep can lower your pain threshold drastically.  You need that sleep, so what can you do?

There are several steps you can take if your neuropathy is keeping you awake at night.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician can work with you to best help your specific situation, but here are some guidelines to get you started:

  • Do your best to keep a regular sleeping schedule.  Be persistent! Getting to bed and getting up at the same times each day is one of the best ways to train your body to sleep correctly.
  • Limit your intake of caffeine and any medication that incorporates a stimulant (non-drowsy), especially in the evening hours.
  • Avoid heavy foods in the evening. Our bodies metabolize food for hours after we eat, giving us a boost of energy!  Energy is great when we need it, but can be a pain when we don’t.  Many cultures eat their biggest meal of the day in the morning and only a small snack at dinnertime for this reason.  Try it out!
  • Try turning off the TV and computer a few hours before bed.  Mileage varies from person to person, but electronics tend to stimulate the senses.   Try a book or quiet conversation, instead.
  • Adjust your environment to be ideal for sleeping.  Layer your covers to ensure you stay warm but not hot, and minimize light and noise.

There are a number of herbal and natural sleep aids as well, which may help you fall asleep quickly.  Sleep expert Elizabeth Shannon recommends entertaining a number of stress-relief methods, psychological conditioning, and homeopathic solutions for insomnia before resorting to pharmaceutical sleep aids, which can often form dependencies and, over time, exacerbate the problems associated with restlessness.  Always be cautious with medications, and consult your NeuropathyDR® clinician or other doctor before medicating.

Always remember, altering your sleep pattern won’t happen overnight (so to speak)!  It could be three to four weeks before any changes you make to your routine begin to have meaningful impact on your success getting to and staying asleep, and don’t be surprised if your restlessness gets worse before it gets better.  Contact us, and we can help you find a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area and give you even more information about how to get the rest you need while suffering from neuropathy.

http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/content/159/1/213.full

http://www.webmd.com/brain/understanding-peripheral-neuropathy-basics

http://www.sleeplessnomore.com/

http://www.neuropathy.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8145&news_iv_ctrl=1221

 

Taking Chemotherapy? You Need A Healthy Diet

If you’re taking chemotherapy to fight cancer and you’re suffering from

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ clinician or other medical professional about diet planning.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Post chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy
  • Dry mouth

You can help yourself heal without resorting to even more medication.

By giving your body the nutrients and vitamins that it needs for repair and recovery.

If you’re suffering from loss of appetite, telling you to eat may sound crazy but you have options.  You can eat a healthy diet, with foods that are appetizing, and give yourself a head start on healing.

Nutrition and Cancer

Chemotherapy wreaks havoc on your immune system[1].  You need to give yourself every ounce of immune support possible.  A diet of whole foods that are easy on your sensitive digestive tract is your best option.

Get plenty of anti-oxidants and protein.  Your chemotherapy nutrition plan must include foods rich in vitamins, especially vitamins C, D and E and nutrients like soy isoflavones, amino acids, folic acid, l-glutamine, calcium and carotenoids.  Make sure you stay well hydrated (especially if you are nauseated) and forget about counting calories.  Eat every calorie you can get your hands on – this is not time to worry about weight issues.

If you’re having problems with digesting food, invest in a good juicer.  A juicer will make it easy for your digestive system to break down the food you take in and still get the nutrition your body desperately needs to build itself back up.

The Best Foods For The Chemotherapy Patient

To make it easy for you to remember which foods you need[2], here is a simple cheat sheet of foods that will ensure that your body is being well nourished while undergoing chemotherapy:

Vitamin C

  • Red cabbage
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Oranges
  • Red and Green Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Strawberries and tangerines

Vitamin D

  • Salmon and tuna

Vitamin E

  • Nuts, including almonds and peanuts
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Mangoes
  • Sunflower seeds

Carotenoids

  • Apricots
  • Carrots
  • Greens, especially collard greens and spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Acorn squash

Soy Isoflavones

  • Soybeans
  • Tofu
  • Soy milk – might be easier to digest than regular milk because it’s lactose-free

Folic Acid

  • Asparagus
  • Dried beans
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Lentils
  • Turkey

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ clinician or other medical professional about diet planning to make sure that you’re getting everything from your food that you need to rebuild your immune system.

The Beauty of Herbs and Spices

Adding herbs and spices to your food will not only make them taste better (which is vital if you have no appetite), many herbs and spices have medicinal properties.  Some really good options are:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Ginger (natural anti-inflammatory properties)
  • Garlic (natural anti-biotic properties)
  • Mint (great for fighting nausea as well)
  • Fennel
  • Turmeric
  • Parsley

Again, talk to your NeuropathyDR™ treatment specialist about cancer recovery nutrition and diet planning. Sit down and formulate what you need to eat and gather recipe ideas that sound appealing to you.  By working with your medical professionals and doing what you can on your own to rebuild your immune system, you will have a much better chance of recovery, both from your cancer and your chemotherapy treatment.  By giving your body what it needs, you can also give yourself a better chance of fewer long term effects from post chemotherapy neuropathy.

Have this article handy for your next doctor appointment and take it with you when you go to the grocery store. It’s a great reference for planning your weekly diet and making sure you’re eating the right foods for chemotherapy recovery.

For more information on nutrition to help you fight cancer and post chemotherapy neuropathyget your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

Flu Vaccine and Peripheral Neuropathy

It’s that time of year again…

For the average, healthy person getting a flu shot is a no-brainer.

Pre-flu season…

And everywhere you look are signs advertising “Flu Shots – Walk Ins Welcome” or “Get Your Flu Shot Today.”

For the average, healthy person getting a flu shot is a no-brainer.

After all, the flu accounts for 200,000 hospitalizations every year and up to 36,000 deaths.  If you can take a shot and avoid that, why wouldn’t you?

But if you have peripheral neuropathy caused by

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)
  • Shingles
  • HIV/AIDS or some other immune system disorder
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Gluten sensitivity (also known as celiac disease)
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Hereditary neuropathy

You may think that a flu shot isn’t for you.

HIV patients tend to be especially skeptical about receiving the vaccine.

If you have peripheral neuropathy caused by any of these underlying illnesses, you need to make an informed choice about whether or not to get a flu shot.

This is what you need to know.

The Flu Vaccine Will Not Actually Make You Sick

Contrary to urban myth, the flu vaccine will not make you sick.  It works by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies that actually fight the virus. It does not give you the flu.

You also need to know that there is no evidence that the flu shot will make your neuropathy symptoms worse if your neuropathy is caused by any of the underlying illnesses we listed above.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control strongly recommends that peripheral neuropathy patients with any of these illnesses receive a flu shot every year because they’re more prone to developing serious complications if they get the flu.

A Word of Caution for Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP Patients

If your peripheral neuropathy is caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional before you receive the flu vaccine.

Because the vaccine keeps you from getting the flu by tricking your immune system into producing antibodies to fight it off,  if you have neuropathy caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP,  this immune stimulation may actually cause a relapse in patients with a history of either of these illnesses.

If you have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome and the resultant peripheral neuropathy in the past, it might be a good idea to wait at least one year after your symptoms are gone before you receive the flu shot.

If you have CIDP and your symptoms are still present, you might want to avoid the flu vaccine.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional and consider the chances of complications from the vaccine as opposed to the health risks of actually getting the flu.  Take into account:

  • Advanced age
  • Other chronic medical conditions
  • Possible relapse triggered by getting the flu virus

Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you receive the flu shot every year if you fall into any of these groups:

  • You’re six months to 19 years old
  • You’re 50 years of age or older
  • You have a chronic medical condition (lung, heart, liver or kidney disease, blood disorders, diabetes)
  • You live in a nursing home or other long term care facility
  • You live with or care for someone at high risk for complications from the flu (healthcare workers, people in your household (i.e., children too young to be vaccinated or people with chronic medical conditions)

In the end, the decision to get the flu shot or take a pass on it is up to you.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional before you make your decision and do what’s best for you.

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

Do You Have Peripheral Neuropathy?

If you have

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care

Diabetics are not the only people susceptible to peripheral neuropathy in their feet and hands.

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)
  • Shingles
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Exposure to toxins

 

You have a pretty good idea of what to expect from your disease. Your doctor has probably given you a list of symptoms that you’re likely to experience, if you’re not experiencing them already.

But if in addition to the symptoms you were expecting, you’re having[1]

  • 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 be developing another symptom that your doctor might not have told you about.

And it could cause permanent nerve damage.

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

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy[2] is a condition that develops 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.

Granted, when you’re dealing with the debilitating effects of diabetes or cancer or HIV/AIDS, peripheral neuropathy may sound like nothing to really worry about.

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?

Peripheral neuropathy 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.

The damage caused by peripheral neuropathy can be so gradual that you don’t think much about it.

One day you have a small cut on one of your feet. The nerves in your feet are damaged so you don’t really feel it and you don’t know it’s there if you don’t pay really close attention to the condition of your feet.

That small wound becomes infected. Your immune system and circulatory system are compromised so the tissue doesn’t heal properly. Before you know it, you have a serious infection and you lose your foot.

You’re a little less likely to have that problem with your hands simply because you see them all the time and you’re much more likely to notice if something is wrong. That means you’ll seek treatment faster.

What To Do If You Think You’re Developing Peripheral Neuropathy
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.

First, find a local medical professional specializing in treating patients with peripheral neuropathy, like a NeuropathyDR® clinician. Make an appointment as soon as possible.

To get ready for your appointment –

  • Make note of what your underlying conditions are
  • Make a list of all medications you take
  • Write down when you first noticed your symptoms
  • Write down all of your symptoms
  • Write down what your typical daily diet looks like

 

Get started with treatment as quickly as possible to avoid additional nerve damage and possibly even reverse the damage that’s already there. Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you to treat your symptoms, adjust your diet if you’re not eating like you should in light of your underlying condition and give you information and help on coping with the effects of peripheral neuropathy.

It’s critical that you seek treatment immediately.

For more information on determining whether or not you have peripheral neuropathy and how to cope with it if you do, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

[1] http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm
[2] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peripheral-neuropathy/DS00131/METHOD

Exercising Caution With Autonomic Neuropathy

If you’ve been diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy[1], you know you’re at risk for some serious medical issues.

Exercise can help control the symptoms of your underlying illness and by doing that, you can help lessen the symptoms of your autonomic neuropathy.

Autonomic neuropathy (i.e., nerve damage to the autonomic nervous system) can affect every system in the body, especially:

  • Cardiovascular – your heart, blood pressure and circulation
  • Respiratory
  • Gastrointestinal – your digestion, ability to ability to empty your bowels
  • Genitourinary – erectile dysfunction and loss of bladder control

While you’re dealing some or all of these issues, exercise may not be on your radar.

But it should be.

Exercise can help control the symptoms of your underlying illness (whatever caused your autonomic neuropathy) and by doing that, you can help lessen the symptoms of your autonomic neuropathy.

But a word of caution is in order here.

The very nature of your autonomic neuropathy can affect the systems that are most sensitive to the effects of exercise.  Any exercise program you begin should be designed and monitored by a medical professional well versed in the effects of autonomic neuropathy, like your NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Use Vs. Disuse

When you’re thinking about starting an exercise program[2] and you’re thinking about how dangerous it can be, you also need to consider the effects of not starting an exercise program.  The effects of not exercising are called “disuse syndrome”.  If your level of activity seriously out of synch with your level of inactivity, you can develop:

  • Decreased physical work capacity
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Negative nitrogen and protein balance
  • Cardiovascular deconditioning
  • Pulmonary restrictions
  • Depression

The effects of any of these symptoms of disuse syndrome in combination with your autonomic neuropathy symptoms can make a bad situation even worse.

What You Need To Think About Before You Start Exercising

Think about what happens to your body when you exercise.

Your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes labored, you sweat.

Every single one of those results is controlled by the autonomic nervous system.  Autonomic neuropathy can seriously impact how your body responds to the stimulus of exercise.  And your body may not react as it should.

  • Heart rate – If your autonomic neuropathy affects your cardiovascular system, you need to make sure that your exercise program is designed and monitored by your NeuropathyDR® clinician. Your autonomic neuropathy can lead to abnormal heart rate, inability to properly regulate blood pressure and redistribution of blood flow.  Your cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy may cause you to have a higher resting rate and lower maximal heart rates during exercise.
  • Blood pressure – Blood pressure response with posture change and during exercise is abnormal in patients with cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy.  Postural hypotension, defined as a drop in blood pressure may be seen.  This can mean that the blood pressure doesn’t react normally during exercise.  Symptoms are similar to hypoglycemia and may be mistaken for a drop in blood glucose even though it’s actually a drop in blood pressure.  Patients should be alerted to the potential confusion in these symptoms and instructed to check blood glucose before treating for hypoglycemia.
  • Sweating and Disruption of Blood Flow – Autonomic neuropathy may reduce or even eliminate your ability to sweat.  The loss of sweating, especially in your feet, can cause dry, brittle skin on the feet and you can develop skin ulcers.  It can also make it more difficult for your body to respond to cold and heat. You need to make sure that you’re taking proper care of your feet before and during any exercise program.  Make sure your shoes fit properly and examine your feet regularly to make sure you don’t have any sores, cracks or ulcers.

Autonomic neuropathy can have a serious effect on the very systems in the body that are directly affected by exercise.  Make sure you talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician before you start an exercise program and let them monitor your progress.

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.

Answering the “Why” of Neuropathy

If you’ve been diagnosed with neuropathy as a result of

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care

Neuropathy doesn’t just affect the hands and feet.

  • Diabetes
  • HIV/AIDS or some other autoimmune disease
  • Chemotherapy
  • Shingles
  • Heredity

You probably have more questions than answers.

Neuropathy is probably the one symptom you never expected when you received your diagnosis.

To understand why you developed neuropathy, it helps to understand exactly what neuropathy is.

What Is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy[1] is a condition caused by damage to the peripheral nervous system.  The peripheral nervous system controls communication between your brain and your spinal cord and every other part of your body.  When you pick up a hot pan and feel the pain of the burn, that’s the peripheral nervous system at work.

When the peripheral nervous system is damaged by whatever your other condition is, the communication super highway of the peripheral nervous system is disrupted.  The signals from the brain and spinal cord don’t make it to whatever part of the body is affected by your neuropathy.  It’s like going into a dead zone with your cell phone and not having any “bars”.  Your nerves just don’t make the proper connection.

And neuropathy doesn’t just affect the hands and feet.  It can affect your digestive system, your cardiovascular system, your reproductive system, even your brain.

What Causes Neuropathy?

Any number of things can cause your neuropathy.  Here are a couple of common examples:

If you have diabetes and your blood glucose levels aren’t controlled and have been high for significant period of time, the blood vessels that carry oxygen to your nerves can be damaged.  Sort of like a potted plant that doesn’t get enough sunlight or water.  Your nerves will wither and cease to function, just like your sunlight deprived plant.

If you HIV/AIDS or some other autoimmune disease, your immune system begins to attack your body and that can include your nervous system.  That causes damage to the peripheral nerves.

Any of the conditions we discussed earlier can cause neuropathy because they all can damage your nervous system.  The damage and the part of the nervous system damaged can vary as much as the patients with neuropathy but any of these illnesses places you at a much higher risk than the average person for developing neuropathy.

What Happens Once Those Nerves Are Damaged?

If your nervous system is damaged you can experience[2]

  • Numbness in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Inability to feel heat, cold or even pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Burning or tingling or even the “pins and needles” feeling you get when your legs or arms “go to sleep”
  • Changes in the shape of your feet caused by weakened muscles
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

If your neuropathy affects your autonomic nervous system, you can experience

  • Digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Inability to regulate your blood pressure

Your NeuropathyDR® specialist has an exclusive treatment protocol with proven results for neuropathy patients.  An integral part of that treatment protocol is nutrition counseling and diet planning.  Your specialist will sit down with you and plan your meals to include the proper portions of each of these categories on a daily basis to make sure that your blood sugar remains as constant as possible.

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 neuropathy, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of 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.

Why Do Diabetics Develop Neuropathy?

If you have diabetes and you have any of these symptoms[1]:

If left untreated, diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious and possibly permanent nerve damage.

  • Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Deep pain, especially in your legs and feet
  • Loss of sensation and ability to feel warmth or cold
  • Muscle cramps
  • Numbness, tingling or burning in your arms, hands, legs or feet
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness, especially when you try to stand up
  • Drooping facial muscles
  • Loss of bladder control

You could have diabetic neuropathy.  Diabetic neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy specific to patients who have diabetes.  If left untreated, diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious and possibly permanent nerve damage.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek treatment with a medical professional with experience in diagnosing and treating diabetic neuropathy like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Why Does Diabetes Cause Neuropathy?

If your blood glucose levels aren’t controlled and have been high for significant period of time, the blood vessels that carry oxygen to your nerves can be damaged.  Elevated blood glucose can also damage the sheath that covers and protects the nerves. That leaves them vulnerable to damage.  Diabetic neuropathy is just the medical term for the nerve damage caused by elevated blood glucose levels.

What Happens to Your Body Once Those Nerves Are Damaged?

Diabetic neuropathy happens when the nervous system is damaged.

If your peripheral nervous system is damaged you can experience[2]

  • Numbness in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Inability to feel heat, cold or even pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Burning or tingling or even the “pins and needles” feeling you get when your legs or arms “go to sleep”
  • Changes in the shape of your feet caused by weakened muscles
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

If your neuropathy affects your autonomic nervous system, you can experience

  • Digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Inability to regulate your blood pressure

How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Diabetic Neuropathy?

The best defense against diabetic neuropathy is to get and keep your blood sugar under control.  Your best bet for doing that is proper diet, strictly monitoring your blood sugar levels and always taking your diabetes medication as prescribed by your doctor.

A good diet for controlling your blood sugar includes:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Lean meats
  • High fiber
  • Whole grains
  • No sweets

Your NeuropathyDR® specialist has an exclusive treatment protocol with proven results for diabetic neuropathy patients.  An integral part of that treatment protocol is nutrition counseling and diet planning.  Your specialist will sit down with you and plan your meals to include the proper portions of each of these categories on a daily basis to make sure that your blood sugar remains as constant as possible.

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 diabetic neuropathy, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of peripheral neuropathies, including diabetic neuropathy.

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.

Making the Most of Your Time with Your Doctor to Treat Your Peripheral Neuropathy

If you’ve been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, chances are that diagnosis was made by your family doctor.

The longer you wait, the more severe and potentially permanent your nerve damage can be.

Chances are even better that he’s sent you to a specialist to confirm that diagnosis and begin immediate treatment (if you’re lucky).

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy as a result of[1]:

  • Diabetes
  • Shingles
  • Chemotherapy
  • HIV/AIDS or some other immune deficiency disease
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

If your treating physician hasn’t referred you to a specialist, one of the best things you can do is request a referral to a specialist in treating peripheral neuropathy, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Once that referral is made, you need to take advantage of every minute you have with your specialist.  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.

So What Should You Do?

First, realize that your appointment with your specialist is much more than just time blocked on both your schedules.  It’s a chance to take your life back.  If you have peripheral neuropathy, your body is at war and this is your chance to win.

You want to be prepared so you can take advantage of every minute and get started with an effective treatment program ASAP.

To do that, you need to[2]

  • Write your symptoms down, even if you don’t think they have anything to do with your peripheral neuropathy.  Making a list will ensure that you don’t forget anything.
  • Make a list of every medication you take.  That includes vitamins, herbal supplements and anything over the counter.  Those liquid glucosamine drinks you may be taking to alleviate joint pain count as a medication.
  • Line up someone to go with you, either a family member or a friend.  You’ll want someone there to write down what the doctor tells you.  There’s no way you’ll remember it all.
  • Write down any questions you want to ask.  There is no such thing as a stupid question so ask about anything you’re not sure about.

Here are a few samples:

  1. What causes peripheral neuropathy?
  2. Does everyone have the same symptoms or are mine different?
  3. What else could be causing my symptoms?
  4. Are there any tests I need?
  5. What are my chances of a full recovery?
  6. Will the treatment you’re prescribing have any side effects?
  7. What are my treatment options?
  8. Do you have any reading material I can take home to learn more about peripheral neuropathy?

These are just suggestions so don’t limit yourself to these questions.  Again, write down anything you’re not sure about.

Be Ready to Help Your Doctor

Depending on your symptoms, your underlying medical conditions and any other issues that are specific to you and your peripheral neuropathy, your doctor will ask you quite a few questions.

To make the most efficient use of your time with him, do what you can to help him.  Think about the answers to these basic questions before your appointment:

  • Do you have any underlying medical conditions (like the ones we listed above?)
  • When did you first notice your symptoms?
  • How often do you experience your symptoms? Do you have problems at specific times of the day or after any specific activity?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being mild and 10 being severe), how would you rate your symptoms?
  • Have you noticed anything that makes your symptoms better or worse?

Just thinking about these questions ahead of time and actually putting together answers will make your time with your NeuropathyDR® clinician or other specialist more efficient and productive.  You’ll both be much happier with the result if you know what to expect.

And don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for suggestions to help you manage your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician specializes in treating the whole patient, including recommending lifestyle changes, preparing diet plans, whatever it takes to make your treatment plan effective for you.

We hope this gives you a head start on taking charge of your peripheral neuropathy and making sure that you and your medical professional get the most out of your time together.

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


Peripheral Neuropathy and Foot Wear –Your Shoes Could Be Killing You

Have you been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy?

If you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet, choosing the right shoes is vitally important.

Do you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet and/or legs?

Has your doctor told you how important it is to take proper care of your feet?

Now, for the $25,000 bonus question…

Are you doing what your doctor tells you to do?

Many patients with peripheral neuropathy don’t take proper care of their feet and don’t follow their doctors’ instructions on foot care.

If you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet, not following your doctor’s instructions about the type of shoes you should wear and how to care for your feet can lead to amputation…

Ultimately, it could cost your life.

You’re Not Alone

If you’re not listening to your doctor and doing everything he tells you to do to care for your feet, you’re not the only one.[1]

A recent study that followed 41 patients with type 2 diabetes found that

  • 90% of the patients had been educated about proper footwear
  • 83% washed and dried their feet properly every day
  • 51% actually foot self-exams recommended by their doctors

But more than half the patients admitted that they walked around the house and even outside with no shoes.  And more than two thirds of them were not wearing appropriate footwear.  They were wearing shoes with pointed toes, high heels or flip flops, and even worse.

Finding the Right Shoes

If you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet, choosing the right shoes is vitally important.  Here are some tips to help you know what to look for and what to avoid when you’re buying shoes:

  • Never wear shoes with pointed toes.
  • Avoid shoes with a really flat sole or high heels.  Neither of these styles allow for even distribution of foot pressure.
  • Buy shoes with soft insoles.
  • Never buy plastic or synthetic materials that don’t allow your feet to breathe.
  • Only wear shoes made of leather, suede or canvas that allow air to circulate around your feet and help them stay dry.
  • Avoid slip ons – buy shoes with laces and buckles that allow you to adjust how tight your shoes are.
  • Ask for professional assistance in getting the proper fit in every pair of shoes you buy.
  • Proper shoes don’t have to look like something your grandmother would wear.  You can buy stylish shoes that won’t land you in the hospital.

Remember that neuropathy is nerve damage.  That means that the nerves in your feet are not functioning properly and you may not feel a problem until it’s too late and you have sores, blisters or ulcers.  Those can be deadly.

See Your Doctor Regularly

Ultimately, you need to see your doctor regularly[2].  Find a doctor who specializes in treating patients with neuropathy, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.  They can help you choose proper footwear and take care of your feet on a routine basis and stop any problems before they’re severe.  By seeing your doctor regularly and staying on top of any issues you may have, you can reduce your risk of amputation by between 20% and 70%.

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