Metabolic Syndrome: Pre-Diabetes?

Carrying around excess body fat creates a number of health issues, not the least of which is higher amounts of circulating blood fats and sugar, which can displace oxygen, leading to the development of neuropathy and other disorders.

One of the things I write about, and we see quite often in the neuropathy and chronic pain clinic, is patients with metabolic syndrome. Now, metabolic syndrome is something I’ve written about and speak about all the time. Once upon a time, this was called pre-diabetes. Now it’s called Syndrome X.

So why can metabolic syndrome be potentially more dangerous and more devastating than a diagnosis of diabetes?

The real reason, as we find, is that most patients once diagnosed with diabetes tend to take better care of themselves. But metabolic syndrome is like a smoldering fire that, too often, does not get serious attention until damage has been occurring for years.

Unfortunately, metabolic syndrome is probably the most dangerous affliction of modern man. Being just 20 pounds overweight is a major risk factor not only for things like heart disease, but other conditions too, not the least of which is peripheral neuropathy.

Metabolic syndrome can present in a number of ways, commonly years before the diagnosis of diabetes. It is marked by borderline changes in blood sugar and blood fats, possibly increasing blood pressure, and always an increase in waist size.

Carrying around excess body fat creates a number of health issues, not the least of which is higher amounts of circulating blood fats and sugar, which can displace oxygen, leading to the development of neuropathy and other disorders.

So how does metabolic syndrome develop? Usually very slowly and over many years. We’ve seen patients present with neuropathy for sometimes 10 years or more, before being diagnosed as frankly diabetic.

It is a sad fact, but even modern medicine accepts an ever-expanding waistline as simply normal.

In our next series of articles, what we will do is highlight the simple (but also very effective) things you can do to not only minimize your risk of metabolic syndrome, but to better manage it, as well as diabetes.

For more on metabolic syndrome visit us at NeuropathyDR.com

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Handling The Holiday Stress

Pay particular attention to your body during the holidays, especially if you have neuropathy or chronic pain!

Even for the healthy, the holidays can be incredibly stressful.

Some surveys have even found that people are more stressed by the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas than by asking the boss for a raise!

But when you have:

  • Diabetes
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Post-Chemotherapy neuropathy

Since you now have the stress of the holidays to deal with too, your health could take a serious beating—that will take you months to recover from.

Here are some steps you can take to make the holidays (and the months following them) a little easier to deal with:

1. Understand How Stress Affects Your Body

Stress (both mental and physical) causes the body to release hormones that prompt the liver to secrete glucose. That can wreak havoc on your blood glucose levels if you suffer from diabetes. In Type 2 diabetics, stress can also block the release of insulin from the pancreas and leave that extra insulin floating around in the bloodstream. In Type 1 diabetes, the effects are a little different. Some Type 1 diabetics say that stress drives their glucose up, while others maintain that stress drives their glucose down. Either way, your energy levels are wrecked. On a good day, that can be difficult to deal with. At the holidays, it can be pure misery.

If you are feeling stressed and your energy is especially low, you are less likely to pay attention to your glucose levels, or eat as you know you should. Pay particular attention to your body during the holidays, and Handling The Holiday “Stress-a-Thon”

2. Do What You Can To Reduce Mental Stress

Many of the things that stress us at the holidays are easy to manage or control. Make your life as easy as possible during this trying time.

If traffic really works your nerves, leave home a little earlier or try getting to work by a different route and avoid the areas that are particularly congested.

If your boss is a nightmare, plan to take vacation around the holidays if at all possible, and give yourself a mental break.

Volunteer to help with the holiday activities of a local charity. Doing something good for someone else is a wonderful way to make someone else’s life better and make you feel good at the same time.

Resolve to start a new exercise program, learn a new skill, or start a hobby as soon as the holidays are over. Enlist a friend to do it with you so you can encourage each other. Giving yourself a goal and something to look forward to after the grind of the holidays is over will do wonders for your state of mind.

3. How Do You Cope?

Everyone has a coping style. Some people are the take-charge type and take steps immediately to solve their problems. Other people just accept the problem, recognize that they can’t fix it, acknowledge that it’s probably not as bad as it could be, and go their merry way. Still, others are hand wringers and feel perpetually out of control.

The take-chargers and accepters have less problems with stress, both at the holidays and on a daily basis—as a result, their blood glucose levels don’t become elevated.

4. Relax…

One of the most useful things you will ever learn (diabetic or not) is to relax. For many, the ability to relax is not natural, but it can be learned. Some ways to help you relax are:

Breathing Exercises
Sit down or lie down without your arms or legs crossed. Inhale deeply. Push as much air as possible out of your lungs. Repeat the process but , this time, relax your muscles while you exhale. Start with this exercise for 5 minutes at a time and increase your time until you’re practicing breathing at least 20 minutes at a time, once a day.

Progressive Relaxation Therapy
Tense your muscles then relax them. Lie still and repeat the process for 5 minutes at a time, at least once a day.

Exercise
We can’t say enough about the benefits of exercise. As we’ve said before, you don’t have to run a marathon to get the stress-reducing benefits of exercise. You can walk or stretch, too.

Watch Your Mindset
When it comes to reducing stress, a lot can be said for the power of positive thinking. It’s really easy to let your mind overwhelm you this time of year…

“I’ll never get it all done…”

“What if they don’t like what I give them?”

“Oh man, I have to spend time with my brother again this year…”

Just watch your mindset and you can eliminate much of the stress of the holiday season. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Say a prayer or recite a poem or a quote that makes you feel good. Think of something that makes you happy. It may sound trite, but go to your happy place.

Choose one or more of these methods to relax and do it daily. Relaxing doesn’t come naturally to us, but we can definitely learn to do it with practice, and the health benefits are beyond measure.

Face the fact that many holiday stressors are not going away. The relative you don’t get along with, the traffic, the never-ending list of things to do will always be there.

But you can learn to manage the holiday stress. And if you can learn to manage holiday stress, just think of what you can do the rest of the year.

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ doctor or physical therapist to explore ways to handle the holiday stress and make it a healthier and more enjoyable experience this—and every—year, even with neuropathy or chronic pain!

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The Importance of a Neuropathy Treatment System

Having a Neuropathy Treatment System to follow, provides for more measurable neuropathy treatment results!

One of the most frustrating things for patients and doctors alike is not having adequate treatment plans for patients who suffer from peripheral neuropathy and chronic pain.

Too often, a haphazard approach is taken both by patients and their professionals early on, and the net result is failure, or possibly worsening of the underlying neuropathy and chronic pain condition.

Neuropathy patients are searching continuously for this solution that solution. This magic pill, this wonderful cream that will cure all your ills.

The exotic supplement from the mountains of the Himalayas…You get where this is going.

Whatever you can think of is for sale, specifically targeting neuropathy & pain patients and yes even unwary professionals!

But the good news is when specific neuropathy treatment systems are followed, you know what to expect, and importantly how to measure progress.

For example, most patients who suffer from diabetic neuropathy know when they keep their fasting blood sugars within a healthy range, their neuropathy reacts much better.

Conversely, when blood sugars are out of control due to poor dietary systems the net result is worsening of their neuropathy.

And the same holds true for other facets of neuropathy treatment. For example, having a personal system for regular and scheduled exercise as well as stretching and rest can make a profound difference.

The timing of dietary supplements, combined with other pieces of a real system and yes even medications can make a big difference. We know for example that regularity, in terms of time of day and spacing of dosages and at home or in the clinic can make a huge difference for many neuropathy patients.

We also know that when treating with our home care neuropathy treatment systems at specific times, intensities frequency and combinations with the entire NeuropathyDR treatment system makes a huge difference and leads to bigger improvements in quality of life.

Remember no two patients are the same. Some trial and error is necessary to find out what works best.

But the good news is having a neuropathy treatment system instead of playing “Blind Archery” with your health provides for more measurable neuropathy treatment results!

For more information plesae consider using the NeuropathyDR Treatment Systems used world wide and dont forget to visit us at NeuropathyDR.com

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Is The Flu Vaccine Helpful?

It’s that time of year again…

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 practitioners before you make your decision and do what’s best for you.

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

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Getting Off The Weight Loss Merry Go Round

In today’s post, Dr John Hayes Jr talks to patients and professionals alike about the single most important modifiable risk factor for neuropathy, and yes, a myriad of diseases and health issues.

This is no laughing matter. Obesity, metabolic syndrome & related diseases are skyrocketing out of control.

We are seeing patients at younger and younger ages coming down with devastating illnesses. Our practitioners are seeing the incidence of killers like heart disease and diabetes rise and present earlier and earlier.

Weight loss myths, fads, books, videos abound, no wonder it is a billion dollar industry in our modern world. It is the weight loss merry-go-round!

There is an answer! Fitness is key but diet and healthy eating is crucial. Thats why our most popular post of all time is the NeuropathyDR Diet Plan. Thousands of downloads are distributed online around the world every week!

For in clinic patients, the NeuropathyDR Diet and fitness plans are personalized in our licensed treatment centers, often after extensive personal testing and laboratory evaluations.

Watch, listen carefully and let our Licensed Practitioners help you too! You can get help from any NeuropathyDR Practitioner live, or virtually through our telemedicine portals.

Though it may not seem easy, getting off the weight-loss merry-go-round is crucial.

There’s no other way to say it.  To get off the weight loss merry-go-round may just save your life, in addition to helping your neuropathy and a whole host of serious illnesses and diseases.

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What Do YOU Need To Know About Metabolic Syndrome

Increased blood pressure…

Higher than normal insulin or blood sugar levels…

Excess body fat, particularly around your waist…

Abnormal cholesterol levels – and that means both “good” and “bad” cholesterol…

If you have not just one but all of these conditions, you may have Metabolic Syndrome. And that increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes as well as peripheral neuropathy.

If you know you have one of these symptoms, you may have others and not know it.  Do any of these sound familiar?

1. Obesity – Are you carrying excess weight, particularly around your waist? Do you have an “apple shape”?

2. Elevated Blood Pressure – If your systolic (the top number) blood pressure is higher than 120 or your diastolic (the bottom number) is higher than 80, you have blood pressure issues that you need to talk to your doctor about.

3. Abnormal Cholesterol Levels – If you have high triglycerides (blood fat) and low “good” or HDL cholesterol, you need to ask your doctor about treatment.

4. Insulin Resistance – If your body doesn’t properly regulate the amount of sugar in your blood, you could be on your way to becoming diabetic.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about testing to make sure you don’t have others.  With the exception of obesity, any of these could be silent symptoms that remain undetected without proper medical testing.

Stay tuned…in our next edition, we’ll talk about the causes of metabolic syndrome and give you an idea of what your lifestyle may be doing to contribute to your metabolic syndrome.

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Neuropathy and the Dairy Connection

Here’s What You Need to Know About How Dairy Impacts Your Health.

A lot of people in the American food industry simply don’t want you to know about the real impact of diary on your health, especially for people with diabetic neuropathy.

But there’s more and more scientific evidence than adult humans just weren’t meant to consume milk, and when they do, negative health impacts can happen. The most common issue is the number of adult digestive and allergy disturbances that disappear when dairy is stopped.

And there are other, more serious issues including possible inflammatory and cancer connections.

And what we see in our offices is that eradicating gluten and dairy from your diet may lead to significant relief from inflammation and pain related to diabetic neuropathy.

We always recommend gradual shifts in dietary choices. It’s okay to replace milk with similar products like coconut milk, rice milk, or almond milk. Many people find that soy milk has a distinctive flavor that may not make it everyone’s favorite milk alternative. No matter, what, try to avoid products with added sugar and thickeners or preservatives. Carrageenan is one that is known to be detrimental to the digestive tract.

There are also alternatives to cheese, mainstream yogurt, and other products made from cows milk. We highly recommend doing the research on your own in order to tailor your dietary changes to your own life. This will give you a greater sense of control over your own health and wellness. Be sure to share with your doctor what you are doing and plan to do.

Remember, too, that no one “magic bullet” is going to be the one to reduce 100% of your diabetic neuropathy problems. Instead, look at a dietary shift as one of several gradual changes for better wellness, including exercise, at-home neurostimulation protocols recommended by your doctor, and any medications he or she feels is needed at least at first to get your diabetic neuropathy symptoms under control.
Looking for a NeuropathyDR® expert near you? Click here.

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What Causes Peripheral Neuropathy?

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care

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

The causes of peripheral neuropathy are in many cases unfortunately unknown. In fact, the most common cause of neuropathy in this day and age may actually be idiopathic, meaning of unknown cause.

It’s no longer just diabetes.

In our modern world, we are subjected and exposed to many environmental toxins, including heavy metals. We also are seeing patients surviving cancer and living much longer.

Unfortunately, one of the undesired complications of chemotherapy is the development of peripheral neuropathy. We are also seeing patients developing compression neuropathy, such as carpal tunnel, chronic sciatica and back pain and nerve damage associated with conditions like degenerative spinal disc disease and spinal stenosis.

Part of this, of course, is because we are living longer and being more active than ever before.

Another common but often overlooked cause of peripheral neuropathy is the use of statin medication, which has expanded exponentially. It’s not too long ago that the statins were heralded to be the cure-all for many of mankind’s greatest diseases and illnesses. This is not the forum to debate the appropriate use of statins but if you or a family member are taking them, you do need to be aware that peripheral neuropathy is a potential complication.

There are other causes of peripheral neuropathy, like kidney disease and hormonal diseases that occur in patients with hyperthyroidism, as well as Cushing’s disease, which affects the adrenal glands and the output of cortisol. Alcoholism can cause peripheral neuropathy, as can vitamin deficiencies, especially deficiencies of thiamin, or vitamin B1.

There are still more causes: chronic hypertension, cigarette-smoking, immune-complex diseases, generalized degenerative lifestyles that include obesity, poor diet combined with cigarette smoking, abuse of over-the-counter medications, etc.

And all this is exactly why you must be very cautious about trusting your neuropathy treatment to just anyone who claims they have effective peripheral neuropathy care.

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Diabetic Neuropathy Results!

Neuropathy Treatment Success!

I had the good fortune of seeing several diabetic neuropathy patients in our clinic recently.

As you probably know a very large number of patients who suffer from diabetes go on to develop neuropathy. Furthermore, just getting the diabetes under control does not treat the neuropathy. So more than 75% of the time patients develop diabetic neuropathy require specific neuropathy treatment.

That’s what makes these cases, and the patient care we now have available so exciting!

The first patient had completed her initial weeks of NeuropathyDR care a month ago, and still her diabetic neuropathy continues to improve, BUT not only that, her blood sugar levels are continuing to drop, and exercise tolerance is increasing. After years of total misery and worsening neuropathy.

The second gentleman, a new patient started on Monday, had been miserable for 5 years, and after just the third session, is already sleeping better, even his foot mobility has improved. He has had such bad foot cramps and burning foot pain that can not even sleep without socks.

Finally, successful neuropathy treatment and encouragement. Real Results. Our Doctors and Physical Therapists who really take the time to care for the entire patient.

If you or a loved one are suffering, these cases are showing steady, real progress in beating neuropathy!

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Quick Guide to the Best Neuropathy Diet

This Guide Describes What to Eat Throughout the Day for a Healthy Diet!

You have no doubt heard that changes to your diet and lifestyle can have a tremendous impact on your health as far as neuropathy and chronic pain is concerned.

But what is a neuropathy diet? Exactly what you should be eating, and what should you avoid?

Here is a breakdown of a typical day’s worth of snacks and meals on the neuropathy diet to give you an idea of what kind of adjustments you should be making on your own.

Of course, you may need to modify this general outline for your own symptoms or pain level under the supervision of your NeuropathyDR Clinician.

First, be sure to have breakfast every morning. Ideally, eat a small amount of protein within a few minutes of waking up, which helps to jump-start your mental state as well as your metabolism.

You could have a protein shake made with vegetable protein powder (dairy-free) and coconut milk or almond milk. Or if you prefer not to drink your breakfast, try granola (gluten-free) or steel cut oats.

Next, you’ll want to have a small low-carb snack about three hours after breakfast. Half an apple or banana would do the trick or a small amount of nuts, such as almonds. Be careful when consuming packaged snacks, such as protein bars, as many of them contain a great deal of sugar.

For lunch, you’ll want more protein and veggies. The easiest way to do this is make a salad featuring your favorite kinds of greens—spinach is great. Add a small amount of chicken, tuna, turkey, or salmon for a lean protein, or use tofu if you’re vegan. Throw in a few walnuts or almonds and a drizzle of olive oil.

Have another snack in mid-afternoon, something small and low-carb like your morning snack.

For dinner, emphasize vegetables like asparagus, beets, squash, sweet potatoes, or cooked spinach. Avoid starchy veggies like white potatoes or rice. For a protein, try locally sourced hormone-free beef or fresh fish.

In the evening, have one more small snack. This time it can be a treat, such as one square of dark chocolate or a SMALL serving of gluten-free low-carb cookies.

You’ll also want to have lots of water throughout the day, and limited amounts of tea or coffee are okay.

You’ll notice that this diet is dairy-free, very low in sugar, and contains no bread products or junk food.

Try making a gradual shift into the NeuropathyDR diet over a period of a few days. You won’t believe how much better it makes you feel!

For more information on the neuropathy diet and other neuropathy basics, see our guide I Beat Neuropathy!

Quick Guide to the Best Neuropathy Diet is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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