Treating Diabetic Neuropathy

One of the most difficult and frustrating things doctors and patients do together is treating diabetic neuropathy As you probably know, diabetes as well as #diabeticneuropathy, is on the rise. The reasons for this are many however it is widely agreed the most common cause is sugar and carbohydrate intake and the accompanying increase in BMI or body mass index otherwise known as weight gain.

Unfortunately, this is one neuropathy problem, especially in the early stages that is not treated aggressively enough. Too many patients are simply told to “lose a little weight”, get more exercise etc. without any meaningful specifics.

Worse yet, very common hospital-based diabetic nutrition programs are still far too high in carbohydrates, as are some very famous diet programs.This also includes some programs still prescribed by nutritionists who treat diabetics. In our opinion, this has perpetuated problems with weight control in diabetes.

We also see people eating so-called healthy diets, which are loaded with natural “sugars”. This commonly includes diets rich in fruits and grains. The most important thing to realize in the treatment of diabetes and its cousin metabolic syndrome is that carbohydrates in your diet must be significantly controlled.

This means that carbohydrates need to be restricted to approximately 15g-20g per meal or snack unless you are on insulin*. This often means no more than a half a slice of bread per meal with no other carbs, minimizing starchy vegetables, and eliminating sugars. The ONLY times to add more without going crazy is if you will be engaging in HEAVY exercise within the hour.

Now this also means you will need to work with your doctors and nurses to adjust your medication dosages, especially, if you are insulin-dependent. *Do not make these suggested changes without your doctor’s knowledge or consent.

Getting very strict about carbohydrate control and realizing that conventional nutrition approaches may not be enough to manage your weight, #diabetes, but most especially your chronic pain & neuropathy goes a long way towards helping you regain control of your health, and thus your life.

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Join us for more in depth help, #neuropathytreatmentsthatwork and learn lots more about diabetic and other forms of #neuropathy HERE

*You can also call or text our team at 781-659-7989 Just BE SURE to leave your full name, time zone and concerns.

**You can also download our free dietary guidelines (some patients report losing 50 pounds or more) HERE

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Handling The Holiday “Stress-a-Thon”

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-a-thon and make it a healthier and more enjoyable experience this—and every—year, even with neuropathy or chronic pain!

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Handling The Holiday “Stress-a-Thon” is a post from: Neuropathy | Neuropathy Doctors | Neuropathy Treatment | Neuropathy Treatments | Neuropathy Physical Therapists

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What is Metabolic Syndrome and Why Should You Care?

Some people have never heard of metabolic syndrome. Although, you may know it by another name. Perhaps, you’re more familiar with the term pre-diabetes.

If so, then you know this is a precursor stage for the development of full-blown diabetes. That’s when your health can really start taking a turn for the worse. You may not know it immediately, but eventually, if left unaddressed at its root, diabetes will have detrimental effects on your body.

Metabolic syndrome is the “early” warning sign prior to the possible full blown development of diabetes. In fact, the development of neuropathy can occur sometimes 15 years or more before a diagnosis of diabetes occurs!

But turning around your lifestyle and making immediate changes may help prevent Type II diabetes altogether.

Interestingly, metabolic syndrome has become more and more common over the last decade. In addition to that scary fact, the age at which the syndrome is appearing is steadily decreasing. It is now quite common for young people and even children to be affected with metabolic syndrome.

But…Why Should You Care?

Well, when you consider that a little over a third of American adults are believed to have metabolic syndrome and probably a fourth of our children, that’s a good reason for us all to care.

Here’s the trajectory if we don’t wake up and get ahold of this. Metabolic syndrome becomes diabetes which is one of the primary risk factors for heart disease, stroke, neuropathy, and some cancers. In one word, that all sums up to unhealthy and downright dangerous.

If you don’t want to live the rest of your life in an unhealthy state with likely deterioration of health and function, then now is the time to get ahold of it.

Since 60% of neuropathy is diabetes related…now you see why we’re talking about metabolic syndrome. We would like to help you before permanent damage is done

We can help do this in a variety of ways:

  • Preventing or helping you reverse metabolic syndrome
  • Provide weight loss programs & nutrition recommendations
  • Provide optimal preventive therapies immediately
  • Offer the best in neuropathy treatments

You can also join us here to learn more.

Visit our office or just go to our Home Care & Store if you’re already familiar with the tools you may need to order. We always offer exceptional quality at optimal prices!

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Eating Better to Help Neuropathy

Do you remember why we eat? It’s to provide fuel and “building blocks” so our bodies can function smoothly, and repair themselves. Eating Better to Help Neuropathy can help you improve your neuropathy treatment!

In our last few posts I’ve talked about how simple a neuropathy diet can, and should be most of the time

Do you remember though, why we eat? It’s to provide fuel and “building blocks” so our bodies can function smoothly, and repair themselves. Thinking very consciously about this really can help you change your neuropathy treatment!

One of the biggest things I find that helps us is always having a powerful image of how we want to feel, and function! Think about it. Would you rather be building your body with empty calories from highly refined foods or from fresh, “live” foods such as vegetables, fruits and so on.

As part of good neuropathy treatment we are trying to stop or reduce “Inflammation”, the cause of much pain and suffering.

Neuropathy patients especially, need to be able to repair their bodies better, maintain an even blood sugar, and also provide things like magnesium, and vitamins.

In neuropathy, magnesium can help ease pain and restore better sleep. In our neuropathy diet, this would be from eating our leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts and as part of our supplementations.

The B Vitamins especially help our nerve cells work better. A key neuropathy vitamin is B1 or Thiamine. This one is crucial in neuropathy and diabetes as it helps your body “burn” starches and sugars, commonly called carbs now a days.

Plant food sources of thiamine include  nuts, oats, oranges, seeds, legumes, peas and yeast. Cereals are limited in the neuropathy diet, but small portions of things like whole oats: (hint: always measure) can help your belly work better and help keep cholesterol levels in check.

One of my favorite ways to start the day is with ¼ cup gluten free granola with almonds, then, add 1 tablespoon of our pea protein powder, and finally a splash of soy or almond milk. You’ll be keeping your carbs around 15-20 grams and be getting a head start on vitamins if you do this right.

A final word about neuropathy treatment supplements. Neuropathy treatment supplements are often advised in the NeuropathyDR clinics, always under supervision, and knowing what medicines you may be taking.

But always remember, the foundation of your best  treatment at home should be eating better to help your neuropathy and prescribed activity, with co-treatments directed by your NeuropathyDR clinician.

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

Patients and Doctors are invited to call us at 781-659-7989 at 12:30 EST Monday, Wednesday and Thursday to talk with the next available senior clinician.

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Calcium and Your Health

Calcium is an element which is essential to life and health. Like potassium and chloride, too much or too little of this key element can literally kill us! Your body has some aging mechanisms built in to keep calcium levels in our blood nearly constant. So much so that, if we consume too little, our parathyroid glands send hormone messengers that break down bone to release more usable calcium.

Calcium is necessary for proper heartbeat and normal nerve function. A disturbance in blood calcium can cause fatal arrhythmia of our heart, and “tetany”, which is a severe disabling contraction of our muscles!

Now you probably have been lead to believe that dairy consumption is the only way to get adequate calcium. You might even have been told that calcium consumption alone can prevent or treat osteoporosis.

Neither of these assumptions, by themselves, are true.

For example, John Robbins was one of the first to point out in the ’90s that in cultures where daily physical activity and plant-based diets are the norm, osteoporosis was virtually non-existent. These cultures do NOT consume any dairy at all.

Instead, they eat lots of vegetables, nuts, and lean protein like fish, using animal products sparingly. This diet, which we recommend to our clients, is far healthier than the typical sugar, fat, and soda consumption of the average modern diet!

These cultures also have higher levels of active Vitamin D, secondary to sunlight exposure. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium in our gut, and among many other things, helps us build stronger bones, ward off infections, and a whole host of diseases.

Calcium is a key player in your health! Unless you have a disease which requires careful monitoring, eating healthy and getting enough vitamin D and exercise are probably all we need.

Most of the time, large amounts of calcium supplementation may actually be dangerous, and could actually contribute to other disease risks.

In nature, calcium often occurs with magnesium. Effective supplementation delivers calcium and magnesium in near-equal concentrations.

Magnesium is another crucial nutrient—in fact, the most commonly deficient in the so-called modern diet. We’ll discuss more about that, and other supplements, in upcoming blogs.

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to our newsletters at http://neuropathydr.com.

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Eating More Often Can Manage Neuropathy and Weight

Eating more frequently will stimulate your metabolism—or, how efficiently you burn versus store fat, keep your blood sugar even, and help keep you warmer. Eating more frequently can also help patients who are dealing with neuropathy and weight issues that can arise from their medical condition(s).

On the surface, a statement like that might seem wrong. After all, isn’t eating at the root of weight gain, obesity, and its complications? To a point, yes. This is especially true when we consume far more calories in one sitting then we need, and load our meals with carbohydrates and poor-quality fats.

But a little-known fact is that when we eat less frequently, we become much more efficient at storing fat rather than burning it.

So what does this have to do with managing peripheral neuropathy?

Neuropathy and Weight

The bottom line is, eating more frequently will stimulate your metabolism—or, how efficiently you burn fat versus store fat, keep your blood sugar more even, and actually help keep you warmer. For patients who suffer from peripheral neuropathy, all of these improvements are crucial.

But this does not mean you can eat anything you want. What we do know is that by consuming relatively low amounts of carbohydrates in our meals, along with periodic snacks, we become much more efficient metabolically.

What I tell all my neuropathy patients—and, indeed, every patient—is to try to eat something not more than three hours apart. For example, you will start your breakfast with something like a protein shake, or a small serving of steel-cut oatmeal with a little added fat, perhaps some berries. Approximately two hours later, you’ll have six to 10 almonds, or perhaps another lean, low-carbohydrate snack if allergies are a problem.

Now, if you are insulin-dependent diabetic, some of what I say here will not apply, so please be careful here.

Again, this points out the need to work with well-trained neuropathy treatment professionals to truly manage your peripheral neuropathy and weight issues, indeed, your health in general.

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

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Do You Know Your Neuropathy Treatment Numbers?

There are many basic numbers that can affect your neuropathy treatment.

One of the most important things we get to do in the neuropathy treatment clinic is to teach patients about their most important neuropathy treatment numbers.

For example, if you suffer from diabetes or metabolic syndrome do you know what your blood sugar numbers are in the morning, and after meals? Are you rechecking them 3 to 4 times per day and recording these on excel sheet or graph paper?

Likewise, do you know your blood pressure, your height and weight, your BMI or body mass index?

These numbers along with critical laboratory values such as total Vitamin D and total Cholesterol levels are important to know, and monitor. These neuropathy treatment numbers also give you a benchmark.

For example, many times when treating neuropathy patients we find vitamin D levels are too low and cholesterol levels are too high. We start treatment programs to affect both of these. Unless you have your baseline numbers, you won’t know how effective your treatment is!

In neuropathy treatment there are some other things you need to keep an eye on. Your weight is an obvious one. This is something you should check the same time each week.

Another neuropathy treatment number to know is your blood pressure, taken first seated and then immediately upon standing. Your blood pressure normally should rise a little bit (10 points) upon standing. If not, it could indicate overmedication, dehydration, or possibly the development of autonomic neuropathy.

So what I would recommend you do is to keep a safe place for all these pieces of information. It’s easier now than ever with mobile devices.

Make sure you have the capability of sharing this information with your healthcare providers. Then, you’ll be able to work together on a more effective neuropathy treatment program.

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

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Best Treatments for Common Neuropathy Forms

There is good potential for improvement, and even recovery, in common neuropathy forms in many patients. You need to make sure you are doing your part, but also that your treating clinician is doing everything they can for you as well!

If you are reading this, you already know something about peripheral neuropathy. You probably know millions are afflicted.

But you may not know there are many types: the most common ones are due to chemotherapy drugs, diabetes, and pre-diabetes, or metabolic syndrome.

In fact, metabolic syndrome may very well be responsible for the majority of cases that are now labeled “Idiopathic”. The Idiopathic means we just aren’t sure what the cause is.

Nevertheless, there is good potential for improvement, and even recovery, in these common neuropathy forms in many patients.

But recovery depends upon stimulating your healing capacity.

And there are several good tools which can help do just that. For example, we know a low-carb diet (I also prefer gluten and dairy-free), stopping smoking, and losing weight is key. Exercise and rehab under supervision often make a big difference too.

Research tells us our body produces substances that help nerves heal. These are called neurotropins.

So, what are the best ways to help your body along?

Well, in addition to the things we just mentioned, maintaining good mental health is key. In fact, one study showed significantly higher levels of neurotropins in people who “were in love”!

The same study also looked at electric stimulation. The results were somewhat surprising. Indications are: less is often more!

In this study, neuropathy treatment electrotherapies that are too powerful, administered for too long, or too high a frequency produced less than favorable results.

We also know that accommodation to treatment is a factor. This occurs when our bodies “get used to” any one therapy, or even a drug. It also helps explain why patient progress can seemingly plateau.

All of this highlights the need for a comprehensive approach to neuropathy treatment.

You need to make sure you are doing your part, but also that your treating clinician is doing everything they can for you as well!

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

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Good Habits Are Powerful Neuropathy Treatment Weapons

Effective neuropathy treatment plans are easier to implement with patients who have good habits and schedules.

What does your daily routine consist of?

It is a well-known fact that our daily habits contribute more to our long-term well-being than any other single activity.

Of course, this includes things like exercise, drinking soda, tobacco usage, drug usage etc.

It also includes our mental activity. We have a choice to regularly have active mental stimulation such as reading, meditation and prayer, versus passive activities such as long periods of watching television.

Unfortunately, most of us never take a hard look at our daily activities, and the impact they’re having upon our health.

Now when you’re young, these are relatively easy to ignore. But throw in advancing age, and some health challenges and it becomes a different ball game!

With chronic pain and neuropathy, sticking to good daily health habits becomes a much more difficult task.

Nonetheless what I can tell you after taking care of hundreds of patients is that those who have routines and habits fair far better.

More effective neuropathy treatment plans are easier to implement with patients who have good habits and schedules.

Scheduling and timing of daily things such as meals, light activity, supplements, and even your own self-care goes along way.

One of the reasons this is true is because your body has its own biorhythms.

Timing of certain supplements, and even self-treatment throughout the day, can make a BIG difference in your outcome!

And these are all things your specialist is able to assist you with.

Just make sure you engage us and ask for guidance with regard to the most effective neuropathy and chronic pain treatments and activities.

But most importantly ask and learn about the best scheduling, and timing.

Make a DAILY schedule for yourself, then stick to it!

Do you have a daily routine? Join our conversation today on Facebook by clicking HERE!

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

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The Benefits of a Carbohydrate-Controlled Diet

Many forms of peripheral neuropathy respond to carbohydrate-controlled diets.

We recently spoke about the impact of diet selection, especially carbohydrate consumption, on diabetic peripheral neuropathy. In our clinic, we’ve found that most neuropathy patients benefit greatly when they follow a carbohydrate-controlled diet plan.

Now the reality is, because many forms of peripheral neuropathy respond to carbohydrate-controlled diets, that maintaining body weight and overall body composition is critically important to beating neuropathy.

But sometimes simple dietary changes are not enough, and a more radical approach is necessary. This is where professionally supervised weight loss programs and dietary retraining can be incredibly powerful.

A healthy diet should include[1]:

• Whole grains and legumes to provide B vitamins to promote nerve health.  Whole grains promote the production of serotonin in the brain and will increase your feeling of well-being.
• Plant based proteins or lean meats,fish and eggs.
• Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, and other greens) for calcium and magnesium. Both of these nutrients are vital to healthy nerve endings and health nerve impulse transmission and, as an added bonus, they give your immune system a boost.
• Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (such as squash, carrots, yellow and orange bell peppers, apricots, oranges, etc.) for vitamins A and C to help repair your skin and boost your immune system.
• Sunflower seeds (unsalted), avocados, broccoli, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts (unsalted), tomatoes and tomato products, sweet potatoes and fish for vitamin E to promote skin health and ease the pain of nutritional neuropathy.
• Ask your us for recommendations on a good multivitamin and mineral supplement to fill in any gaps in your nutrition plan.

Foods you should avoid:

• Coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
• Fried foods and all other fatty foods. Fatty foods suppress the immune system and that’s the last thing you need when you’re fighting nutritional neuropathy.
• Control the amount of animal protein you eat. High-protein foods elevate the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine which are both tied to high levels of anxiety and stress.
• Restrict intake of starchy vegetables, as they are high in carbohydrates: potatoes, peas, corn, yucca, parsnips, beans, and yams.
• Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol consumption limits the ability of the liver to remove toxins from the body and can make a bad situation worse.

If you’re suffering from neuropathy, it is vital that you gain control of your diet, understand carbohydrate and calorie restriction, opt for healthier food selections, and plan mealtimes so you don’t eat too late at night.

If you continue to struggle with your weight, or body composition, you should explore a carbohydrate-controlled diet plan as a viable treatment option.

A carbohydrate-controlled diet has proven extraordinarily beneficial for our neuropathy patients.

Keep in mind, getting your metabolism, that is your weight and body composition, under control is a key step forward.

It goes without saying that you will look better, and feel and function better mentally, physically, and usually spiritually as well.

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

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[1] http://www.nutritionmd.org/health_care_providers/endocrinology/diabetes_complications_neuro.html

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