Peripheral Neuropathy Common Symptoms: Loss of Balance

Gait Change or Loss of Balance is One of the Most Common Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy—Yet Many Doctors Miss This Connection.

Peripheral neuropathy can have a variety of symptoms—and some of them can be confusing or misleading. That’s why doctors who don’t have specialized training in neuropathy symptoms may not know peripheral neuropathy when they see it!

Commonly, a leading indicator of peripheral neuropathy is a significant change in gait (the way you walk) or your overall sense of balance. But this is also a feature of several neurological disorders.

Peripheral neuropathy causes changes in balance and gait because of the way that your feet begin to lose sensation.

If you are experiencing this problem, I urge you to seek the opinion of a qualified neuropathy clinician right away. The longer your peripheral neuropathy in feet is left untreated, the more severe the consequences. In time, you’ll be forced not only to treat the peripheral neuropathy at its source but also to undergo rehabilitation in order to regain some of your original sense of coordination and balance.

Worst of all, your peripheral neuropathy symptoms are putting you in danger of being a fall risk. An unexpected fall can have long-lasting repercussions and could even be fatal.

Fortunately, there are things you can do right away to help prevent serious accidents related to your peripheral neuropathy.

First, get fitted for good quality shoes and wear them whenever you are not in bed. (Be sure to also check your feet regularly for sores that could get infected and cause serious problems if not detected quickly.)

Next, reduce the slip and fall hazards in your home. Put non-slip backings on all area rugs. Don’t leave any object on your stairs or near a doorway. Bathrooms, kitchens, and other areas without carpeting are an area of special concern.

To learn more about how to improve your quality of life with peripheral neuropathy, check out our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

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Peripheral Neuropathy is Best Managed Through Frequent Meals

Did You Know That Eating More Often Can Actually Help Heal Your Peripheral Neuropathy?

We know that obesity can contribute to medical conditions like diabetes that cause peripheral neuropathy. So it may not seem logical that eating more often, not less often, could be a primary way to address peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Why would frequent meals be a GOOD idea for peripheral neuropathy sufferers? Here’s an explanation.

When you eat few meals per day, you are essentially training your body to store fat. That’s a primal survival mechanism to keep calories available to you as needed for fuel. It works against you when you are eating more calories in one meal than you really need—and especially if your meals are loaded with “bad” fats and simple carbohydrates.

On the other hand, when you eat more frequent meals, you’ll be training your body to burn fat more efficiently through stimulating metabolism. Frequent meals can also help to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Of course, there’s a catch. It isn’t enough to just eat more often. You’ve got to make sure that WHAT you are eating is nutritious and supportive so that you’re slowly healing your peripheral neuropathy, not making it worse.

The diet we recommend for those with peripheral neuropathy is based on fewer (and complex) carbs and plenty of good protein and healthy fats. It’s best to avoid going more than three hours without eating a meal or snack.

Obviously, for diabetics who need insulin to regulate blood sugar, follow the advice of your doctor.

Everything we know about healing peripheral neuropathy is based on a close working relationship with a specially trained neuropathy treatment specialist who can customize YOUR treatment to address YOUR neuropathy symptoms and overall medical condition.

Click here to find a NeuropathyDR® specialist in your area.

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Daily Self Care is a Vital Part of Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy

In Treating Diabetic Neuropathy, Daily Self Care is an Essential Component of Getting Back on the Road to Wellness.

Diabetic neuropathy refers to a specific kind of peripheral neuropathy that is unique to diabetes patients. It happens when poor circulation prevents nerves from getting enough blood flow, and it’s exacerbated by lack of control over elevated blood sugar.

Long-term, diabetic neuropathy can cause severe nerve damage that can be debilitating and have a huge negative impact on quality of life.

If you have any of the following symptoms and have diabetes, it’s very important to get a thorough assessment from a trained diabetic neuropathy clinician:

  • Pain in feet or legs
  • Tingling or burning in legs, feet, hands or arms
  • Numbness or lack of sensation
  • Cramping or weakness in muscles
  • Inability to distinguish warm and cold

If a trained neuropathy specialist finds that you have diabetic neuropathy, the first step to better health will involve getting your diabetes under good management to avoid any additional nerve damage. This may involve medications and/or a diabetic neuropathy diet. Along with reducing sugar sources in your diet, you will want to make sure you’re getting lots of whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, and enough fiber.

This diet will provide a basis for healing so that you can begin to chip away at diabetic neuropathy symptoms and improve your quality of life. Your diabetic neuropathy specialist may also recommend nutrient supplements, high-tech innovations such as laser therapy, or complementary medicine such as massage or acupuncture.

It’s important to understand that there is much you can do at home, aside from a healthy neuropathy diet, to provide self care to aid and hasten your healing. You will need to visually monitor your feet and hands every day for any inflammation, blisters, sores, or broken skin to avoid infection. You can also undertake a gentle exercise routine based on input from your diabetic neuropathy specialist.

For more information on the diabetic neuropathy diet and other self care you can do at home to improve quality of life, take a look at I Beat Neuropathy!

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Why You Need Folic Acid to Combat Peripheral Neuropathy

Vitamin B9, AKA Folic Acid, is a Key Supplement for Maintaining and Improving Nerve Health When Dealing with Peripheral Neuropathy.

You may know that folic acid helps to prevent birth defects, which is why it’s one of the key ingredients in prenatal vitamins.

What you may not know, however, is that folic acid is a vital nutrient for people with neuropathy and chronic pain. That’s because a folic acid deficiency can directly influence the development of peripheral neuropathy.

Why is folic acid so important for those with neuropathy?

It has to do with the role of folic acid in the body. This supplement, which is also known as vitamin B9, is essential for repairing damaged cells in the body. It feeds DNA synthesis, and it’s needed for preventing anemia (a condition involving a lower than normal quantity of red blood cells).

An abnormally low level of folic acid in the body can also cause fatigue, depression, and mouth sores.

For all of these reasons, folic acid is one of the essential nutrients that should be checked by your neuropathy specialist in a routine evaluation, along with vitamins D and B12, especially if you’re over 50 years old.

Also, don’t rely on self-diagnosis for folic acid deficiency. This is important to understand because if you took a folic acid supplement without first testing for B12 deficiency, you could be masking one problem while trying to provide self treatment for another. The other reason to avoid self-diagnosing is that some vitamin deficiencies can have serious consequences for your nervous system, and it’s best to begin your neuropathy treatment with a thorough examination by a trained neuropathy specialist.

Be aware that you’re unlikely to experience a folic acid deficiency if you are following our recommended neuropathy diet. That’s because the diet includes an abundance of foods that are natural sources of the B vitamins, such as leafy green vegetables, legumes, and fresh fruits. However, it’s vital to store and prepare your food appropriately in order to avoid breakdown of key vitamins before the food is even ingested.

You can find neuropathy nutritional supplements such as our Neuropathy DR Metabolic Support Formula at the Self-Guided Care Store.

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A Focus on Mobility in Your Neuropathy Treatment

Your Neuropathy Treatment Plan Should Include Appropriate Exercise to Help You Retain Your Ability to Walk and Move Normally.

No doubt, one of the most crippling side effects of chronic pain and neuropathy is losing normal mobility function—in other words, reduced ability to walk and move around as you used to do.

It’s such a common experience for neuropathy sufferers. Unfortunately, reduced mobility has dangerous side effects of its own, including an increased chance of becoming ill with other chronic conditions like heart disease, or making an existing condition (such as diabetes) significantly worse.

You might think that it would make sense for your doctor to prescribe rest when you have neuropathy symptoms, especially when walking seems to make your symptoms worse.

But light exercise (approved by your physician, of course) can actually help to reduce your symptoms and aid your overall health. That’s because even a small amount of activity can have good health effects like increasing your energy, raising your body temperature, and helping to maintain adequate muscle tone.

What’s more, if you are able to institute a regular program of doctor-approved light exercise, you may find that you don’t need as much pain medication!

This is a tricky area, though—striving for just the right amount of activity that isn’t too much (which can exacerbate neuropathy symptoms) or not enough (which causes problems of its own). It’s important for you to follow an appropriate exercise program that you’ve developed in collaboration with your neuropathy specialist.

When you are talking with your doctor about the appropriate type and duration of exercise, keep these key points in mind:

  • Staying well hydrated is so important. You’ve got to make sure to get an adequate amount of water every day—not just any old beverage, but specifically water, which your body’s systems must have in order to function as well as possible.
  • Try to avoid getting cold, which brings on stiffness. That means wearing light but warming layers of silk, microfiber, or wool, even in the warmer months. You’ll also need to stay out of drafts and wind, which may make certain neuropathy symptoms much worse.
  • Most of all, you’ll need to eat well in order to get the right nutrients and avoid neuropathy triggers. Our NeuropathyDR® diet is designed specifically with these goals in mind.

Are you ready to take charge of your neuropathy symptoms and get your mobility back? Just for you, we have created the neuropathy owner’s manual: I Beat Neuropathy!

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How to Improve Your Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy Can Severely Impair Your Everyday Functioning—Unless You Take These Important Steps Back to Good Nerve Health

You already know from experience that peripheral neuropathy can have severe and destructive effects on your everyday quality of life. With neuropathic pain, even the easiest tasks can begin to feel impossible. It’s hard to work, to move around, or even to sleep when you are affected by nerve pain, numbness, and tingling.

When we talk about “quality of life” in the medical setting, we are looking at the degree to which you have been able to adapt to your medical condition. We take a look at things like your interactions with family and friends, your physical well-being, the activities you enjoy in your life, and your own perception of the state of your health.

That last one is crucially important. We know that your beliefs and attitudes about your underlying medical condition (such as diabetes, lupus, or HIV/AIDS) make a huge difference in your quality of life and your ability to deal with peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Peripheral neuropathy is considered to be chronic pain. It’s not something that will come and go; people with peripheral neuropathy symptoms tend to experience them constantly. This kind of never-ending pain can be disruptive to your ability to work, your social life, your sleep routine, and your mental health. Many people with peripheral neuropathy become anxious or depressed due to their experience of chronic pain.

The Good News About Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy

Let me share the good news about neuropathic pain. Although most nerve damage is permanent and there is no true cure for peripheral neuropathy, there are many things that you are able to do to improve your quality of life and regain close-to-normal functioning.

First, take good care of your feet, wear comfortable shoes and socks, and avoid going barefoot. Get foot massages to help reduce pain and improve your circulation. Call your doctor immediately if you notice any sore spots, blisters, or other issues on the soles of your feet.

Next, cut back on caffeine and nicotine. If you’re able to quit, do so! Nicotine has been shown to decrease your circulation, and caffeine most likely is making your peripheral neuropathy pain even worse.

Try to maintain an active lifestyle to the extent that is possible for you. Of course, you’ll need to check with your doctor or peripheral neuropathy clinician before beginning any exercise program. Exercise will improve your circulation, your mood, and your overall quality of life.

Finally, one of the most important changes you can make is to follow the NeuropathyDR® diet that provides everything your body needs to begin healing peripheral neuropathy. This is best undertaken under the supervision of a NeuropathyDR® specialist who can prescribe a custom treatment plan for your individual needs. To find a NeuropathyDR® specialist near you, click here.

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Top 5 Neuropathy Myths

Have You Fallen For These Neuropathy Myths? Find the Real Facts Here.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there concerning neuropathy—what it is, what causes it, and most of all, what you can do about it.

In some cases, these neuropathy myths arise from confusion due to outdated information, misleading claims, and rumors perpetuated by neuropathy sufferers looking for a cure.

Take a look at the following neuropathy myths and the real facts known by current medical science, and decide for yourself.

Myth #1: Neuropathy pain happens naturally with age.

Neuropathy can happen to people of any age; it’s just a little more common in the senior population. And neuropathic pain is not inevitable with advanced age. Instead, it’s correlated with certain problems that can happen to older people, such as drug complications and metabolic issues. In fact, there’s plenty you can do to help prevent neuropathic pain from negatively impacting your quality of life as you get older.

Myth #2: My friend with neuropathic pain says that my symptoms can’t be neuropathy, because my pain is nothing like my friend’s pain.

Neuropathy can present with a variety of specific symptoms. These can include sharp pain, lack of normal sensation, unpleasant tingling, or inability to retain control over motor functions. Some individuals will have only one symptom, while others have multiple indicators of nerve damage. In the most severe cases, there can even be organ damage that impairs normal function. One person’s neuropathy may not look anything like another person’s neuropathic pain. That’s why it’s so important to get a diagnosis from a trained clinician with a background in treating neuropathy.

Myth #3: Only people with diabetes develop neuropathy symptoms.

It’s true that neuropathy is one of the symptoms commonly associated with diabetes. However, there are many other patients who are affected by neuropathy—including people in chemotherapy cancer treatment, people with minor physical problems like carpel tunnel syndrome, and those who have undergone an illness or injury.

Myth #4: There is a simple cure for neuropathy.

Unfortunately, although there are many websites and books out there claiming that they alone can provide a “cure” for neuropathic pain, the truth is that there’s no real cure. It’s also important to keep in mind that neuropathy looks different for every individual sufferer, so how could a website or book possibly offer a miracle cure for YOU and your individual pain? Any cookie cutter solution is likely to be a scam or just plain ineffective. Always talk with your physician before beginning any type of neuropathy treatment program.

Myth #5: If there’s no cure for neuropathy, then there’s no point in trying to treat my symptoms.

Actually, many neuropathy sufferers have been able to significantly improve their quality of life and even reduce the severity of their symptoms. There’s no “cure,” but there is a proven effective treatment regimen that blends home care and lifestyle changes with clinical treatment protocols to ease neuropathy pain.

You’ve already taken the first step by reading this article. An informed patient is a powerful patient! For more concrete, practical information about neuropathy and how you can turn your symptoms around, take a look at the neuropathy owner’s manual: I Beat Neuropathy!

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Is There a Peripheral Neuropathy Cure?

It’s The First Question On Your Mind When You Are Diagnosed: Is There A Cure For Peripheral Neuropathy?

It’s the big question. When you’re just been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, there’s only one thing you want to know: Is it going to get better? Is there a cure?

I wish I could say a resounding YES in answer to this question. Maybe a more honest answer would be, “Not yet.” Unfortunately, depending on how your specific case of neuropathy originated, many cases of nerve damage are permanent.

But don’t stop reading there! What you need to know about peripheral neuropathy is that there ARE steps you can take to treat your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Yes, peripheral neuropathy is a chronic condition, but we have learned so much over the years about how to effectively manage symptoms.

One of the areas that can be greatly improved for anyone with peripheral neuropathy is increased mobility. You may be experiencing mobility-related symptoms such as motor neuropathy, which decreases the strength of your limbs; decreased fine motor skills and dexterity in your fingertips;or trouble walking because of stiff joints and painful feet.

All of these problems can be frustrating and can severely impact your daily life, when even the simplest tasks have become incredibly difficult. This can lead to mood disorders like depression, a secondary effect of peripheral neuropathy for many people.

That’s why the best approach to peripheral neuropathy treatment is multi-faceted. The closest thing we have to a “cure” is a flexible treatment approach that incorporates at-home nutrition and exercise adjustments, along with state-of-the-art options like laser therapy, based on a customized assessment from a trained NeuropathyDR® clinician. You’ll be able to take symptom management into your own hands and return to living the life YOU want to lead.

To start improving your quality of life right away and take charge of peripheral neuropathy, click here to locate a NeuropathyDR® clinician near you.

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Neuropathy Pain Is Serious Business! The Hidden Dangers of Autonomic Neuropathy

Neuropathy Pain Can Lead to Serious and Life-Threatening Nerve Damage. Here’s What You Need to Know for Your Long-Term Health.

You already know that neuropathy pain can significantly impair your quality of life on a daily basis, and in a long-term way. But did you realize that ignoring neuropathy pain can actually contribute to the development of life-threatening illness?

When there is nerve damage to your autonomic systems (the parts of your body that function automatically, like digestion and blood pressure), these systems are likely to stop behaving like they should. This is called autonomic neuropathy, and it can actually threaten your life. Any impairment of autonomic systems is an immediate danger to your health.

When are you at risk for autonomic neuropathy? You should consult a qualified neuropathy physician if you have any of these conditions that are frequently associated with neuropathic pain and damage from autonomic neuropathy:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer that is being treated with chemotherapy
  • AIDS or HIV
  • Lupus

It is also extremely important for you to seek the support of a NeuropathyDR® clinician if you are experiencing any of these nerve damage symptoms:

  • Unusual sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling or numbness in extremities
  • Change in the way you feel sense hot and cold temperatures
  • Sexual problems
  • Loss of ability to control your limbs or fingers and toes

You might also be in a high-risk category for developing autonomic neuropathy related to neuropathic pain if you have had a severe injury or amputation. In these cases, be sure to see a NeuropathyDR® clinician for a consultation now, instead of waiting for symptoms to develop.

There are times when a trained physician can detect nerve damage before any symptoms arise, and early intervention in treatment is key—not just to quality of life over time in terms of neuropathy pain, but also avoiding life-threatening scenarios related to autonomic neuropathy.

For a list of NeuropathyDR® clinicians near you, see Find A Neuropathy Treatment Center.

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The First Steps You Should Take After You Learn That You Have Neuropathy

Unsure What To Do Next After a Neuropathy Diagnosis? The First Steps Are Simple But Effective in Managing This Condition.

Finally, after a lot of confusion and misdiagnosis, your doctor has said that your symptoms are caused by neuropathy. It may be a relief to have a diagnosis and a name for the pain, tingling, or numbness you’ve been experiencing. Then again, you may simply feel discouraged and have no idea what to do next.

By far, the number one question I get from patients is, “Now what?” After a neuropathy diagnosis, what should a patient do next?

In particular, the doctor who diagnosed you may not have been able to offer much guidance. Most doctors just don’t have the training or knowledge in this area.

But there are specialists out there who can collaborate with you on a customized neuropathy treatment plan, one that is tailored to your specific needs—because neuropathy is not a cookie-cutter condition.

My advice to you as a newly diagnosed neuropathy patient is to follow these steps:

  1. Immediately put in place an effective management plan for any urgent or underlying medical conditions that you may have, including cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
  2. Locate a neuropathy treatment specialist who can aid you in forming a treatment plan specific to your needs. If there is not a trained neuropathy doctor local to you—one who is willing to advise real corrective action rather than simply masking symptoms with medication—then there may be a NeuropathyDR® specialist who can consult from a distance with your medical team.
  3. Look closely at the everyday habits that are impacting your health. Do you smoke? Are you physically inactive? These are things that you can, and should, change so that your overall health will improve both short-term and long-term. Willingness to shift your eating habits toward a supportive neuropathy diet will also have a huge impact on your symptoms and well-being.

There is much that you can do on your own to benefit your health and reduce neuropathy symptoms. Working hand in hand with your NeuropathyDR® clinician, your health WILL improve.

Take a look at our patient’s guide to neuropathy and how to navigate your neuropathy treatment: I Beat Neuropathy! Getting Your Life Back on Track.

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