When Neuropathy Changes Critical Body Functions

Autonomic Neuropathy: More Dangerous than You Think

If you read our articles often, you know that we usually talk about peripheral neuropathy in terms of pain and inconvenience.  We usually write about quality of life, but it’s also important to know about a much more serious element: the dangers of autonomic neuropathy.

Autonomic neuropathy is the term that means damage has been done to the nerves that control the automatic functions of your body.  These functions include blood pressure, heart rate, bowel and bladder emptying, and digestion.  When the nerves are damaged, these functions can start to behave incorrectly.  It can be dangerous and even life-threatening when this happens.

If you have symptoms of nerve damage such as:

  • Numbness or tingling
  • Loss of motor control
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Dizziness and sweating
  • Loss of hot and cold sensation

You may also have more serious damage to the nerves controlling your organs.  If you think you might, see a NeuropathyDR® clinician right away!  Many cases of autonomic neuropathy accompany cases of peripheral neuropathy that have more easily-noticed symptoms.  With autonomic neuropathy, your body can have trouble controlling your blood pressure, might not digest food correctly, or could have problems regulating your body temperature.  These conditions are dangerous!

Don’t be confused!

Neuropathy Doctors and Physical Therapists

The Neuropathy Treatment System Patients and Clinicians Ask For by Name (TM)

Autonomic neuropathy isn’t a disease of its own, and it’s not caused by any one thing.  You can be at risk of developing nerve damage if you suffer from injuries, if you’ve had an amputation, or even if you spend long amounts of time sitting still.  Most commonly, autonomic neuropathy goes along with a disease or condition, such as:

  • Alcoholism
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (specifically, chemotherapy)
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Lupus

If you have any of these, you are at risk.  Don’t wait until you develop symptoms; see your NeuropathyDR® clinician before symptoms start.  You could have damage threatening your organs that you can’t detect yourself, but your doctor can discover.  If your NeuropathyDR® doctor catches neuropathy early, it can save your life and even keep you from having troubling and dangerous symptoms.

So how will your doctor know if your organs are in danger?

Well, the first source of information is you.  Make sure you answer your doctor’s questions about your lifestyle, exercise, diet, habits, and so on.  Be honest!  NeuropathyDR® clinicians are here to help, not to judge.  Volunteer any information the doctor might not know, like medication you’re taking and any symptoms like the ones above you might have.

Your doctor will take your blood pressure and inspect your extremities (especially your feet) for signs of sores, infections, or sensation problems.  It is possible he will conduct an ultrasound to inspect your organs in greater detail, or run tests on specific organs, such as your bladder.  These are all perfectly routine, and do not necessarily mean there is a serious problem.  Don’t forget: we want to catch any problems as soon as we can!

If there is a problem threatening your organs, your NeuropathyDR® Treatment Center can help!

Your doctor will make sure you’re taken care of the best way possible.  For autonomic neuropathy, this can mean a couple of different treatments used together to keep you healthy.  Several kinds of medications are available which will help slow the effects of nerve damage and reduce the symptoms.

Your doctor will also instruct you on ways to make your everyday routine more conducive for living with neuropathy.  You may have to adjust your diet, and certain kinds of exercise may be more dangerous to people with neuropathy.  Don’t worry, though!  There are still lots of great foods you’ll be encouraged to eat, and you’ll be able to keep in shape the right way with the plan you and your NeuropathyDR® clinician develop together.

There’s no absolute cure for neuropathy, but NeuropathyDR® doctors and physical therapists are trained experts when it comes to the best ways to treat its different forms and keep you safe.  If you have symptoms of neuropathy, or if you suffer from one of the conditions that contribute to it, don’t wait!  The earlier we catch neuropathy, the safer and happier you will be.  If you aren’t already in touch with a NeuropathyDR® clinician in your area, contact us and we will be happy to help you find one.

 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autonomic-neuropathy/DS00544

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000776.htm

http://www.ccjm.org/content/68/11/928.full.pdf+html

 

Neuropathy and Exercise

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

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

Additionally:

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

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

Don't Neglect Stretching and Core Activities...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Neuropathy and Exercise

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

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

Additionally:

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

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

Don't Neglect Stretching and Core Activities...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Alcohol, Neuropathy and Chronic Pain

One of the most serious—but rarely discussed—conditions resulting from extended alcoholism is alcoholic neuropathy.  One of the reasons for its being relatively obscure, aside from difficulties inherent in any discussion of substance abuse, is that much of the scientific evidence linking neuropathy and alcoholism is somewhat vague.  Even so, medical science generally accepts that excessive use of alcohol can cause neuropathy.

Alcoholic neuropathy has symptoms similar to other forms of neuropathy, with tingling and numbness in the extremities, loss of heat and cold sensation, loss of fine motor control, impotence in men, and so on.  All this is accompanied by the chronic pain typical in cases of peripheral neuropathy.  Because of the areas of the mind and body targeted by the alcohol, it is common for alcoholic neuropathy sufferers to exhibit outward signs of intoxication even when sober, such as slurred speech, stumbling gait, and clumsiness.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that, in severely affected patients, the legs and hands may be nearly useless to the point of paralysis and sensation may be entirely absent in extremities.  In these cases, the skin can also be dry and atrophic.

The specific causes of alcoholic neuropathy are difficult to pin down, and thus, the case can be tricky to diagnose.  If you frequently drink alcohol, let your doctor know!  Generally, a pattern of heavy alcohol use for a period of ten years or more will be accompanied by neuropathy symptoms.  A leading theory contends that the cause of alcohol-related neuropathy may be the combined effect of direct nerve-poisoning by the alcohol itself, coupled with the long-term poor nutrition that often accompanies alcohol abuse.  Alcoholics typically exhibit erratic eating habits, resulting in poor overall nutrient intake, and the damage to organs reduces the absorption of nutrients from food.  Of course, difficulty in motor control resultant from neuropathy often exacerbates the malnutrition, as the patient becomes socially uneasy about mealtimes and self-conscious about feeding themselves.

Nerve damage from alcoholism is usually permanent.  If you believe you suffer from alcoholic neuropathy, the first order of business, of course, is to bring your drinking and nutrition problems under control!  If your alcohol consumption is not severely limited and adequate nourishment is not supplied, additional treatments will be futile and your symptoms will almost invariably compound.  Beyond this, treatment will seek three main goals:

  • To control symptoms
  • To maximize and restore function (quality of life)
  • To prevent further injury to the patient due to neuropathic vulnerabilities

Most treatments address these three tenets simultaneously.  Pharmaceutical treatments include the use of painkillers, either prescription strength or over-the-counter (such as analgesics).  Your doctor will probably recommend the lightest use of pain medication possible; this is very important if you, as an alcoholic, have a propensity for substance abuse.  During a period of withdrawal, you are especially vulnerable to new addiction.  Be aware of this danger, and  monitor use of any medicationsvery carefully.

Alcohol Related Nerve Pain Can Be Treated

Because of the underlying nutritional deficit usually at the root of alcoholic neuropathy, you may benefit from a system of nutritional supplements and parenteral multivitamins.  Consult a dietician or your NeuropathyDR® clinician to ensure the proper replenishment of nutrients necessary to prevent the spread of neuropathic symptoms.

Several new lifestyle habits can help you adjust to living with alcoholic neuropathy, such as carefully monitoring the temperature of bathwater to prevent burning, inspecting yourself and your clothing and footwear for points of rubbing or wear on your skin, and so forth.  Establishing these habits (which are themselves advisable for all neuropathy patients) can be instrumental in replacing the drinking routine that caused the problem.  Living with neuropathy can actually help you break the cycle!

Although nerve damage is usually permanent, your prognosis for sufferers of alcohol-related neuropathy can be very good if you are able to replenish your nutrition and stop drinking.  You probably won’t see substantial recovery from neuropathic symptoms for several months.  Of course, you’ll see subjective improvements in lifestyle and health almost immediately when you quit drinking, as a result of general detoxification.

If you believe you might be suffering from alcoholic neuropathy, it is vital to your quality of life that you find help!  Contact us right away—your NeuropathyDR® clinician is ready to give expert, judgment-free guidance to help you adjust your lifestyle and stop symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy in their tracks.

 

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000714.htm

http://www.neillneill.com/alcoholic-neuropathy

http://www.bettermedicine.com/article/alcoholic-neuropathy

http://www.learn-about-alcoholism.com/alcoholic-neuropathy.html

http://www.ajcn.org/content/9/4/398.full.pdf

 

 

 

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

 

What You Need To Know About “The Silent Killer” Metabolic Syndrome

What You Need To Know About “The Silent Killer” 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.

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.

What Causes Metabolic Syndrome?

Sometimes Called Pre-Diabetes Metabolic Syndrome is rampant in our society...

As the name implies, Metabolic Syndrome is linked to your body’s metabolism and could be caused by your body’s inability to properly regulate the amount of insulin in your bloodstream.  Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas and it helps control the amount of sugar in your blood.

If your body is operating normally, your digestive system breaks down the food you eat into sugar (what doctors normally refer to as glucose).  Your blood then carries the glucose to your tissues where the cells use it as fuel.  Insulin helps the glucose enter the cells.  If you’re insulin resistant, your cells don’t respond normally to insulin and glucose can’t enter the cells as it should.

The body reacts by producing more and more insulin thinking that will help the glucose get into the cells, sort of like pumping the gas pedal in your car to get more fuel to the carburetor.  Just as that can flood the engine in your car, the result is higher than normal levels of insulin in your blood.  And that can, and often does, lead to diabetes.

Even if you don’t develop diabetes, elevated glucose levels can raise your triglyceride levels or interfere with how your kidneys work.  All of which puts you at higher risk for heart disease, stroke and a host of other conditions.

Think You May Have Metabolic Syndrome?

If any of these symptoms or conditions applies to you, talk to your doctor about testing to make sure you don’t have the others before they cause serious health problems.

If you’re not sure what to ask your doctor, here are some basic questions:

•       Are the symptoms I’m experiencing now related to metabolic syndrome or some other condition?

•       What kinds of tests do I need to best manage my conditions?

•       What else can I do to improve my health?

•       What other options do I have to manage the conditions that cause metabolic syndrome?

•       How do best manage all of these conditions together?

•       What restrictions do I need to follow?

•       Where can I get more information on metabolic syndrome or any of the conditions I currently have?

One More Thing to Think About

We’re seeing more and more metabolic syndrome in younger patient populations.  And one of the first symptoms they experience is peripheral neuropathy.  Because nerve tissues are especially vulnerable to damage from diseases that affect the body’s ability to transform nutrients into energy or produce some of the components of cell repair (think diabetes), nerve damage and the resulting peripheral neuropathy is very common.

Classic symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are:

•       Tingling and/or burning in hands and feet

•       Neuralgic-like pains

•       Loss of the sense of touch or an inability to feel vibration

•       Temperature changes in the flesh – do your extremities feel excessively warm or cold?

•       Serious sleep disturbances with resultant depression or side effects from pain medication

If you have a confirmed diagnosis of metabolic syndrome and are now experiencing any of these symptoms, you don’t have to just live with it.  Contact us today for information on how peripheral neuropathy can be treated, your suffering lessened and exactly how to find a NeuropathyDR Treatment Center in your area.

Tips On Better Managing Neuropathy During The Holidays

If you have diabetes…

Or you’ve had shingles…

Even if you’ve completed a successful course of chemotherapy…

And you suffer from pain or burning in your feet, legs or hands, you could have peripheral neuropathy.

You’re not alone…

You don’t have to just live with it…

You don’t necessarily have to swallow more pills and pay for more expensive prescriptions…

There are things you can do to help manage your pain.

The NeuropathyDR Protocol is Based Upon Combination Therapies

More than half the people suffering from neuropathy report that they’ve tried some complementary treatments in addition to traditional medicine to relieve their pain.

There are many things you can do daily at home to help you improve your pain.  Here are few to think about:

If You Have Diabetic Neuropathy, Control Your Blood Sugar

This may sound like a no-brainer but many people with diabetes don’t realize how toxic high blood sugar is.  High blood sugar is what causes nerve pain and damage.  Keeping blood sugar levels close to normal can not only stop ongoing damage; some damage may even be reversible.  That provides even more promise for fighting neuropathy pain.

Take Care of Your Feet

Nerve pain is usually what brings people in to see their doctors.  But the numbness in their feet and inability to feel even the smallest injury can lead to infections and ulceration and ultimately end in amputation.   If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy you need to take special care of your feet and be very aware of any sign of problems.  Some things you can do are:

•        Clean and inspect your feet every day.  If you have an injury that’s not healing properly, call your doctor immediately.

•       Wear comfortable shoes.  Don’t wear shoes that pinch your toes or rub blisters on your heels.

•       Wear padded socks to cushion the ball of your feet and the heel.

•       Either cut your toenails straight across or have a doctor do it for you.

Walk, or Better Yet Cycle As Much As Possible

You don’t have to run a marathon or even walk one.  You don’t have to race a titanium frame bicycle. Just move the big muscles in your legs as often and as much as you possibly can.  Exercise, even very gently at first improves circulation and improved blood flow to the legs and feet will help nourish damaged nerves.

A Warm Bath Can Do Wonders

Warm baths increase blood flow; reduce stress and aid in relaxation.  All three of these benefits will make the pain a little easier to tolerate.  But a word to the wise, check the water temperature with your elbow or your wrist before you get in the bathtub. The nerve damage in your feet makes them an unreliable source for judging temperature. Use a thermometer. We like 100 degrees Fahrenheit with some added minerals and antioxidants.

Take Targeted Supplements

Vitamins B-1, B-12, B-6 and folic acid are all vital to healthy nerves. We have found certain combinations in professionally tailored packages for each case often works best.  If you eat a healthy diet, you may still not be getting the recommended daily amount of some vitamins and other nutrients. Talk to your doctor first, though, before you take any supplements to make sure they won’t interact badly with the medications you’re taking.
You can easily check for drug-nutrient interactions. Special caution is advised in thyroid disease and cancer therapies during neuropathy care.

Better Self Care Means Better Quality of life...

Control Your Alcohol Intake

High intake of alcohol is a toxin to your nerves.  And if the nerves are already damaged, it’s even worse.  Some people think that a drink a day is good for your health. I respectfully disagree. If you have nerve damage, that’s a chance you don’t need to take.  Don’t drink more than four alcoholic beverages a week if you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, and none would be even better

That’s Why NeuropathyDR™ Doctors and Physical Therapists are trained

Before you begin any self-care regimen or add supplements, herbs or vitamins to your healthcare regimen, always talk to your professional first.  Virtually everything has some side effects so make sure that what you’re planning to take won’t cause you more harm than good.

And Above All Else…

Don’t give up.  Self-care is vital to managing your neuropathy.  While you may need a combination of these self-care tips and medication, sorting out yourself is not always wise.

Contact a local NeuropathyDR doctor or physical therapist to explore treatment options in addition to taking care of yourself.

 

 

Holidays can be incredibly stressful…they don’t have to be!


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

And now you have the stress of the holidays to deal with as well, 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

You Can Make Healthier Choices This Holiday Season...

 

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 blood stream.  In Type 1 diabetes, the effects are a little different.  Some Type 1 diabetics say that stress drives their glucose up, 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 take the extra time you need to take care of yourself.

 

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 yourself feel good at the same time.

Resolve to start a new exercise program or 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 takes 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 and, 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 yourself relax are:

o      Breathing Exercises

Sit down or lie down without your arms or legs crossed.  Inhale deeply.  Push as much of the 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.

o      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.

o      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 and get the stress reducing benefit of exercise.

o      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 Contact a 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.

 

Yoga will keep you limber and stretches the muscles in slow, easy, fluid movements.  You can do it as slowly as you like.  You don’t have to qualify as a Cirque Du Soleil acrobat to get the benefits of a good yoga practice.  Just do the postures to the best of your ability.  If it has been awhile since you’ve exercised, don’t expect to be limber overnight.  Give yourself time.

 

Tai Chi

 

Tai Chi is a very slow moving martial art.  Each and every movement is done slowly and through a complete cycle, works every muscle group in the body.  Even though it is not a strenuous exercise program, the health benefits for your bones and muscles are undeniable.

 

Swimming

 

If your joints are so painful that walking is not a good option for exercise, try swimming.  Your movements are easier in water and you will put little weight or pressure on your feet.  Make sure that the water is warm, not cold.  Prolonged exposure to cold water will have a detrimental effect on your circulation and make a bad situation worse.

 

 

Stretching

 

You can stretch while lying in bed.  This is a good stretching program that will give you a good total body stretch without ever getting on your feet. Do each of these small stretches 6 or 8 times:

 

•       Start with your fingers and toes and gently stretch and contract them

•       Next, move to your wrists and ankles and make circles with the joints

•       Bend your elbows, bring your hands in to your shoulders

•       Bend your knees, one at a time, toward your chest

•       Bring your arms up to your ears and down, gently stretching your shoulder muscles

•       Raise each leg, keep it straight, and raise it as far as you can.

None of these stretches requires a broad range of motion but will increase the circulation in your arms and legs and work your joints.

Remember, you don’t have to over exert yourself to stretch your muscles and improve your circulation.  When you deal with debilitating pain, just doing those two things can lead to great improvement in your overall health condition.

Start small, take it easy and do the exercise you choose at your own pace.  Be gentle with yourself.  The more you do even the smallest exercise, the better you are going to feel.  And that’s the best way to ensure a good outcome from any medical treatment.

There is lots more information for you in aour local treatment centers and at http://neuropathydr.com

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.