Lupus – Not a Cookie Cutter Illness

When we hear that someone has lupus, we tend to think of it as one illness…

One illness with a very specific set of symptoms…

In both cases, we would be wrong.

Lupus is a very complex group of illnesses that not only vary by type but also in how they affect individual patients.  No two lupus patients and their symptoms are alike.

The fact is there are several types of lupus[1]:

–          Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) – the most common type of lupus and what most people are thinking of when they say someone has lupus.

–          Life Threatening Lupus – a form of SLE that affects one or more of the patient’s vital organs such as their heart, lungs, kidneys or liver.

–          Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus (CLE) – only affects the skin.

–          Drug Induced Lupus – caused by medications.  The symptoms are like the symptoms of SLE but will go away once the patient stops taking the particular medication that caused it.

–          Lupus in Overlap with other Connective Tissue Diseases – this is a type of lupus in which the patient has some other disease that affects the joints and tendons as well like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma, Sjogren’s Syndrome or Vasculitis.

All of these forms of lupus are serious and incurable.  Once you have any of these forms of lupus, you have it for life.  Granted, you will have flares (episodes of active lupus symptoms) and remissions (when you’re symptoms aren’t present or are really mild), but you’re not cured.  The symptoms come and go but the illness always remains.

With all these variables, it can be tough to know if you have lupus or something else.

If have at least four of these symptoms, you need to see a doctor immediately for testing and diagnosis:[2]

∙           Chest pain when you take a deep breath or if you cough up blood

∙           Fatigue

∙           Headaches

∙           Numbness, tingling, vision problems

∙           Seizures

∙           Vision problems

∙           Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting

∙           Abnormal heart rhythms

∙           Fever for no apparent reason

∙           A general feeling of discomfort and ill feeling

∙           Hair loss

∙           Sores in your mouth

∙           Sensitivity to sunlight

∙           A rash over your cheeks and nose

∙           Swollen lymph nodes

Many of these symptoms may be caused by the damage lupus does to the peripheral nervous system or peripheral neuropathy.  Because of the effects of lupus on the nervous system, a good place to start for diagnosis and treatment would be a physician well versed in diagnosing and treating nerve diseases and damage, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Exactly Why Are Lupus and Peripheral Neuropathy So Serious?

Because the peripheral nervous system can be affected by lupus, every system of the body that is regulated by the peripheral nervous system can be damaged.

That means the nerves that control involuntary body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and perspiration.  Your body many not be able to regulate your heart rate or your blood pressure, you might not be able to properly digest your food, or your kidneys can be damaged and you could develop urinary problems.  A little less than 5% of lupus patients develop cranial neuropathy (damage to the nerves in the brain) leading to headaches, vision problems, depression, and even personality disorders.

As if that weren’t enough, lupus can cause serious problems with inflammation.  That can lead to:

–          Inflammation of the sac around the heart

–          Diseases of the heart valves

–          Inflammation of the actual heart muscle

–          Inflammation of the tissue around the lungs or pleurisy

Now, imagine having any of these issues and having peripheral neuropathy, too…

Your peripheral nerves aren’t functioning properly and can’t send the proper signals to your brain to let you know you have a problem.

You can see why this could be very serious.

If you have at least four of the above symptoms, call your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician today.   Early intervention is one of the best ways to minimize the damage caused by lupus and peripheral neuropathy.   While your lupus isn’t curable, a combination of medication and the highly specialized treatment protocol available to you through your NeuropathyDR® clinician to minimize nerve damage can make your life bearable and your symptoms manageable.

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

 

 

 

 

What You Need To Know About Hypoglycemia and Autonomic Neuropathy

 

If you have diabetes and a low blood glucose count, you have a serious problem.

That problem is hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia can occur in anyone with diabetes if they’re taking medication to lower their blood glucose.  If you have type 1 diabetes and you’re insulin dependent, you stand a good chance of developing hypoglycemia.

The symptoms can be mild and easy for you to recognize.  A quick fix is to load up on carbohydrates and go on your way; however, the symptoms can be severe enough to cause you to lose consciousness, possibly even diabetic coma and death.

If those prospects concern you, they should.  The really frightening thing is this –

You Might Not Even Know You Have A Problem

Most people expect hypoglycemic episodes to come with classic symptoms[1]:

∙           Tremor

∙           Sweating

∙           Heart palpitations

That doesn’t always happen.  If you’ve had type 1 diabetes for a long period of time and try to keep your blood glucose levels close to normal, you may not even realize you have a problem.

Here’s why:

If you have type 1 diabetes, when your blood glucose levels fall, your insulin levels don’t decrease and your glucagon levels don’t increase.  They just reflect your body’s absorption of insulin.  When that happens, your body loses its first two lines of defense against the imbalance in your system.  Your body’s normal response is impaired.

What Causes the Impairment[2]?

Several things –

∙           Your brain may have become used to hypoglycemia because it’s been dealing with it for awhile. If you’ve had frequent episodes, the system in your body that’s responsible for transporting adrenaline to where it’s needed no longer senses a great need.  It just doesn’t respond.

∙           You may be using medications that mask your hypoglycemia symptoms and not even know it.  For example, if you take medications that are beta blockers, they’re designed to lessen the effects of adrenalin on your body.  You may not experience the tremors or heart palpitations that a normal person would during a hypoglycemic episode.  Beta blockers also block the liver from producing glucose so you’re giving your body a double whammy to deal with.

∙           You may have autonomic neuropathy.

What Is Autonomic Neuropathy?

Autonomic neuropathy in itself is not a disease.  It’s a type of peripheral neuropathy that affects the nerves that control involuntary body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and perspiration.  The nerves are damaged and don’t function properly leading to a breakdown of the signals between the brain and the parts of the body affected by the autonomic nervous system like the heart, blood vessels, digestive system and sweat glands.

The autonomic nervous system is the body’s back up plan for dealing with hypoglycemia.  When it malfunctions, it can lead to a world of problems.  Imagine your body being unable to regulate your heart rate or your blood pressure, an inability to properly digest your food, urinary problems, even being unable to sweat in order to cool your body down when you exercise.  In your case as a patient with diabetic hypoglycemia, your autonomic neuropathy is probably keeping your liver from producing insulin.

If you have diabetes, you need to take every precaution to maintain proper glucose levels.  Make sure you report any change in your condition to your doctor immediately.  If you’ve developed autonomic neuropathy as a result of your hypoglycemia, prompt treatment is your best bet to avoid serious and possibly deadly complications.  Early intervention with a NeuropathyDR® clinician is a good place to start.  If you already have symptoms, start treatment immediately.  If you take beta blockers or you’ve had frequent episodes of hypoglycemia in the past, see your doctor immediately and make sure you’re on a good preventative regimen.

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

 

 

 

 

Acute Kidney Failure and Its Deadly Sidekick – Uremic Neuropathy

 

 

Doctor

This requires comprehensive medical care...

When you hear the words “acute kidney failure”, what do you think of?

Dialysis?

Hospitalization?

Symptoms too obvious to ignore?

Then you might be surprised to learn that acute kidney failure often doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms.  Many times it’s detected when the patient is already in the hospital for something else and evidence is found through tests.

When the symptoms finally do appear, they’re usually

∙           Swelling, especially in the legs and feet

∙           Cramps, muscle twitching or muscle weakness

∙           Little or no urine output

∙           Thirst and a dry mouth

∙           Dizziness

∙           Rapid heart rate

∙           Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite

∙           Confusion

∙           Anxiety or restlessness

∙           Pain on one side of the back just below the rib cage but above the waist

∙           Fatigue

While none of these symptoms appear to be life threatening on their own, in combination they can be a sign of a deadly illness – acute kidney failure.  And the root cause of many of these symptoms is a serious complication of kidney failure – uremic neuropathy.  Uremic neuropathy or neuropathy associated with kidney failure is a very common complication of kidney failure.

If you have two or more of these symptoms, you need to see a doctor immediately.  A good place to start would be a physician well versed in diagnosing and treating nerve disease and damage, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

What Is Uremic Neuropathy[1]?

Uremic neuropathy is a type of neuropathy caused by an increase in uremic toxins in the blood (the toxins urine usually removed from the body when the kidneys function properly.) The severity of your uremic neuropathy is directly linked to the severity of your kidney failure.  If your kidney failure is acute, your uremic neuropathy is pretty serious.

There are several conditions that cause kidney failure that will make it more likely that you’ll develop uremic neuropathy because they directly affect the central and/or peripheral nervous system.  The more common ones are:

∙           Diabetes

∙           Systemic lupus

∙           Hepatic (liver) failure

How Can Kidney Failure Lead to Neuropathy?

Neuropathy is one of the worst results of chronic kidney disease[2].  Acute kidney failure damages the kidneys.  When the kidneys are damaged fluids, waste products and toxins build up in the body.   Because many organs and bodily systems (particularly the nervous system) are directly affected by this build up of toxins, acute kidney failure leads to overall poor health and inflammation and nerve damage.

Once the nerves are damaged, they cease to function properly.  One complication leads to another and, in 20% to 50% of patients with acute kidney failure, you develop uremic neuropathy.

If you have one of the conditions we listed above that directly affect the nervous system, pay particular attention to your daily state of health.  If you develop any of the symptoms of kidney failure, contact your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician immediately for treatment.

Treatment and Prognosis

Uremic neuropathy is a serious condition that can arise from acute kidney failure.  Your best course of action is to catch your kidney issues before they become acute and you develop uremic neuropathy.

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you and your other physicians to treat your neuropathy and manage your underlying condition.  They do this through:

∙           Diet Planning and Nutritional Support

You need to give your body the nutrition it needs to heal.

A low protein diet is best for patients with kidney disease.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR® clinician about a diet plan that will work for you.

If you have diabetes, you need to follow a diet specifically designed for diabetics and     to control your blood sugar.

∙          Individually Designed Exercise Programs

If you experience dizziness, rapid heart rate, extreme thirst or issues with impaired sensation in your feet and legs, you have to be every careful with your exercise program.  Make sure that you don’t overexert yourself, take it slowly.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician can design an exercise program specifically for you that will allow you to exercise but won’t push you beyond what your body is capable of.  And, even more importantly, they will continually monitor your progress and adjust your program as needed.

These changes in conjunction with medications and possibly dialysis will make it easier to live with acute kidney failure and uremic neuropathy. Early intervention with a NeuropathyDR® clinician is still the best policy if you have any of the underlying conditions that can cause uremic neuropathy.  If you already have symptoms, start treatment immediately.

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

 

 

 

 


[1] www.kidney.org/professionals/kdoqi/guidelines_ckd/p6_comp_g11.htm

[2] http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/chronic-kidney-disease-topic-overview

Diabetic Neuropathy – A Good Reason to Keep an Eye on Your Feet

 

"It feels like pins and needles and PAIN! ?"

 

 

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

–          Athlete’s Foot (or cracking of the skin between your toes)

–          Sores or wounds on your feet

–          Numbness or pain in your feet

–          Redness or swelling

–          Blackening or darkening of skin

–          Calluses

–          Ingrown toenails

–          Infection or wounds that don’t heal

–          Bunions

–          Hammer toes (the middle joint of the toes is permanently bent downward)

You need to contact your doctor, preferably a NeuropathyDR® clinician, immediately.  You could have the beginning signs of diabetic neuropathy in your feet.  And that can lead to serious medical problems – even amputation.

And you’re not alone.  According to the American Diabetes Association, about 20% of people with diabetes end up in the hospital with foot problems.  The reduced blood flow caused by both your diabetes and the resultant neuropathy make it hard for you to feel blisters or sores on your feet.  It can even be hard to tell that your socks or shoes don’t fit properly.

But there are steps you can take to take better care of your feet and reduce your risk of serious complications.

Tips for Caring for Your Feet[2]

•         Check your feet every day.  Look at your bare feet to make sure you don’t have any sores, blisters, or swelling.  If you can’t see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone else to check them for you.

•         Wash your feet every day and dry them completely to eliminate the possibility of fungus growth.

•         Use a good lotion on your feet to keep your skin smooth and prevent dry, cracked skin.  Don’t use lotion between your toes – it will keep the skin there too moist and that breeds bacteria.

•         Trim your toenails but not too short.  Cut them straight across and file the edges with a nail file to prevent ingrown toenails.

•         Always wear shoes and socks – even inside your house.  If you have neuropathy, it’s just too easy to step on something and injure your feet without even feeling it.

•         Wear comfortable shoes, preferable shoes designed for people with diabetic neuropathy in their feet.  Check your shoes before you put them on and make sure the lining is intact and smooth and that nothing is in your shoes.

•         Never put your feet in hot water.  Always check the temperature of your bath water with your elbow before stepping into it.

•         Never use hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.  Your neuropathy makes it harder to sense extreme temperatures and you can burn your feet without even knowing you’ve done it.

•         When you’re sitting down, prop your feet up to keep the blood circulating.  Move your toes and ankles to keep the blood pumping.

•         Never cross your legs when sitting.

Prevention Is The Best Way To Avoid Diabetic Neuropathy in Your Feet

Other than taking really good care of your feet, the best thing you can do to avoid the serious medical issues that come with diabetic neuropathy is to manage your diabetes and prevent problems from occurring.   If you have diabetes, you need to:

•         Exercise regularly – talk to your NeuropathyDr® clinician about an exercise program that will work for you.

•         If you smoke, stop now…today.

•         Keep a close eye on your blood sugar.

•         Eat a healthy diet – again, talk to your NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best diet plan for your needs to manage your diabetes.

Above all else, pay attention to your body, especially your feet.  Assess your current medical situation and take note of any of the symptoms we described.  If you are experiencing any of these issues associated with diabetic neuropathy, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of peripheral neuropathies, including diabetic neuropathy.

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

 

 

Peripheral Neuropathy In Your Hands and Feet – More Than Just A “Symptom”


If you have

•         Diabetes

•         Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)

•         Shingles

•         HIV/AIDS

And you‘ve noticed that, in addition to the discomfort you expected from your disease, you also have

•     Swelling in your feet, legs or hands

•     Muscle cramps in your legs

•     Changes in your skin and nails

•     Numbness in your feet and hands

•     Inability of feel heat or cold

•     Sleepless nights due to pain

•     Muscle weakness

•     Painful burning and itching in your hands or feet

•     Feeling like you’re wearing gloves or socks when you’re not

You could have another problem and it’s not just an uncomfortable symptom of your disease.

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

What is Peripheral Neuropathy[1]?

 

Peripheral neuropathy is the damage that occurs when your peripheral nerves are damaged.  That damage can occur because of your diabetes, as a result of toxic chemotherapy, nerves being damaged by shingles, a lack of oxygen to the nerves caused by some other underlying condition or even as a result of HIV.

If you have the symptoms listed above, the nerves in your hands and feet have probably been damaged by your illness.

When you compare peripheral neuropathy to your actual illness, it may sound like it’s really no big deal.  The people around you may think you’re overreacting.  But you know how miserable it is to have constant nerve pain…to be unable to feel the simplest sensation in your hands and feet…or on the opposite end of the spectrum, to go to bed at night and be so hypersensitive that even the sheets touching your hands and feet is torture.

How Serious is Hand/Foot Peripheral Neuropathy[2]?

In your feet, it can be very serious.  How many diabetic patients have you seen with amputations below the knee?

Those amputations are usually caused by damage to the circulatory and nervous system caused by their diabetes.  Peripheral neuropathy plays a big part in these complications.

Diabetics are not the only people susceptible to peripheral neuropathy in their feet and hands.  If you are taking chemotherapy, if you have HIV/AIDS, if you’ve had shingles, or even if you’ve had some other infectious disease, you’re a candidate for peripheral neuropathy.

Think about it.

If you have a small wound on one of your feet and your neuropathy prevents you from feeling it, you’re not going to treat it properly.  Your immune system and circulatory system are compromised so the tissue doesn’t heal properly.  The next thing you know, you have a serious infection and you lose your foot.

The hands are less susceptible to something that severe (they’re closer to the heart, more active and have better blood circulation).  You use your hands more frequently and you’re much more likely to notice a wound on your hands than your feet.  That means you’ll seek treatment faster.

What You Can Do

The first thing you need to do is make sure your treating physician is aware of the problems you’re having with your feet and hands.  Then you can take steps to help yourself.

•      Get plenty of rest

•     Pace yourself and limit your activities

•     Exercise regularly – walking and swimming are good exercises for neuropathy patients

•     Take care of your skin and pay close attention to your feet and hands

•     If you smoke, stop

•     Eat a healthy, well balanced diet

If you are suffering from peripheral neuropathy in your hands and feet, pay particular attention to those areas and contact your NeuropathyDR® specialist immediately if you notice any blisters, sores, torn skin, or inflammation.   The combination of your diabetes, cancer, infectious disease or other underlying medical problem can lead to very serious infections that are slow or impossible to heal.   This can lead to dire complications that can be avoided if you receive the proper medical treatment early.

Make sure you’re doing a visual inspection and not relying on soreness or pain.  Your peripheral neuropathy will impair your ability to feel pain in your extremities and you may not notice the problem until it’s too late for successful treatment.

Assess your current medical situation and take note of any of the symptoms we described.  If you are experiencing any of these issues associated with peripheral neuropathy in your hands and feet, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of peripheral neuropathies.

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

 

 

 

An Infectious Disease Could Just Be The Start of Your Problems

If you have lupus, Lyme Disease, Varicella Zoster (aka Shingles), HIV/AIDS, or even Legionnaire’s Disease, you’re probably dealing with some combination of

•     Extreme fatigue

•     Headaches

•     Painful, swollen joints

•     Anemia

•     Fever and chills

•     Swelling in your feet, legs or hands

•     Pleurisy

•     Rashes

•     Hair loss

These are all symptoms we’re familiar with when we hear about these infectious diseases[1].

But what you may not realize is that any of these diseases can cause peripheral neuropathy.

If it does, the pain, swelling or even loss of sensation won’t go away on its own.  And more than just causing pain, it can be deadly if the wrong nerves are affected.

How Can An Infectious Disease Cause Peripheral Neuropathy?

 

Excellent question.

Many of these infectious diseases are caused by viruses or bacteria.  Viruses and bacteria can attack nerve tissue and severely damage sensory nerves. If those nerves are damaged, you’re going to feel the pain, quickly.

The virus that causes HIV, in particular, can cause extensive damage to the peripheral nerves.  Often, the progression of the disease can actually be tracked according to the specific type of neuropathy the patient develops.  Painful polyneuropathy affecting the feet and hands can be one of first clinical signs of HIV infection.

Any of these viral or bacterial disorders can cause indirect nerve damage and bring on conditions that we refer to as autoimmune disorders.  Autoimmune disorders cause the body’s immune system to go on the offensive and attack its own tissues.  These assaults by the body on the body damage the nerve’s protective covering.  Think of it as “internal friendly fire” – misdirected but potentially serious.

Aside From Discomfort, What Other Problems Could I Have?

 

You could have serious problems.

If your peripheral neuropathy affects the autonomic nervous system, you could develop

•     Blood pressure problems

•     Heart rate issues

•     Bladder or bowel control issues

•     Difficulty swallowing because your esophagus doesn’t function properly

•     Bloating

•     Heart burn

•     Inability to feel sensation in your hands and feet

Beyond being uncomfortable, any of these conditions can cause serious health issues; some can even be fatal.

 

How Can You Protect Yourself?

 

If you suspect you have any of these diseases, get medical treatment immediately.  The earlier you start treatment, the less likely you’ll be to develop peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage.

One of the smartest things you can do for yourself to head off potential problems is to consult a specialist who treats neuropathy and will recognize problems quickly and act to resolve them.  A great place to start is with your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.  Your NeuropathyDR® specialist follows a very specific protocol specifically designed to minimize nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy.

In addition to the NeuropathyDR® protocol and specific drug therapies designed for your particular condition, there are a few things you can do to help yourself[2]:

•     Get plenty of rest

•     Pace yourself and limit your activities

•     Exercise regularly – walking and swimming are good exercises for neuropathy patients

•     Take care of your skin and limit your exposure to the sun

•     If you smoke, stop

•     Eat a healthy, well balanced diet

•     If you’re a woman, pay particular attention to birth control issues.  Any of these infectious diseases can cause serious problems during pregnancy.

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician or other healthcare provider can work with you to design a diet and exercise plan that will help you fight back against these infectious diseases and the long term problems they can cause.

Contact us today for information on the best course of treatment to make sure that once your infectious disease is cured or under control, you won’t carry the burden of nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy.

 

 

Did You Inherit Your Neuropathy?


 

Chances are, if you’re reading this and you’re already in your late 20’s or early 30’s (or older) and you have [1]

•      Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

•      Hereditary Neuropathy with Liability to Pressure Palsies (HNPP)

•      Dejerine-Sottas Disease (DSD)

•      Hereditary Motor Neuropathy (HMN)

You were probably diagnosed in your teens or possibly earlier.  But if you or someone you know is in their teens (or younger) and they have a combination of the following symptoms:

•      Numbness

•      Tingling

•      Pain in their feet and hands

•      Weakness and loss of muscle mass (especially in their calves or lower legs and feet)

•      Impaired sweating

•      Insensitivity to pain

•      Foot deformities such as hammer toes or high arches

•      Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)

It might be time to do some genetic testing to determine if they have a form of hereditary neuropathy.

 

What is Hereditary Neuropathy?

Hereditary neuropathies are inherited disorders that affect the peripheral nervous system, often resulting in peripheral neuropathy.  Hereditary neuropathies can affect you in many different ways but they are usually grouped into four different categories[2]:

•      Motor and sensory neuropathy – affecting movement and the ability to feel sensations

•      Sensory neuropathy – affecting the senses

•      Motor neuropathy – affecting the ability to move

•      Sensory and autonomic neuropathy – affecting the ability to feel sensation and the autonomic nervous system (the system that controls your ability to sweat, your heart rate, your body’s ability to regulate your blood pressure, your digestion, etc.)

As the names imply, they are classified based on exactly which nerves are affected and which functions are impaired.

The most common form of hereditary neuropathy is Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (a motor and sensory neuropathy)  affecting 1 out of every 2500 people.  Most people with CMT are diagnosed before they reach their 20’s but their symptoms can begin years earlier.  CMT may take a while to diagnose because the symptoms can wax and wane over a period of years.

How Can I Find Out if I Have Hereditary Neuropathy?

The only way to diagnose hereditary neuropathy is through blood tests for genetic testing, nerve conduction studies and nerve biopsies.   If you’ve been diagnosed without going through any of these tests, you probably don’t have a good diagnosis.

Your doctor should take a very thorough history and physical.  In order to really determine if you are at risk for hereditary neuropathy, you need to look as far back as three generations.  However, a word to the wise, even if you hereditary neuropathy has not shown up in your family previously, all inherited diseases have to start somewhere.  You could just be the person starting it in your family.   That makes genetic testing even more important.

Are Hereditary Neuropathies Curable?

 

There are no cures for the various types of hereditary neuropathies.  Treatment is usually to treat the symptoms and give your body the support it needs to function as normally as possible.  That usually means physical and occupational therapy,  as well as

•      Care and correction for your muscular and skeletal systems

•      Treatment for any other underlying medical problems

•      Nutrition education and diet planning

•      A step by step exercise regimen

•      Medication as needed or necessary

A highly skilled medical professional well versed in diagnosing and treating nerve damage is your best place to start for treatment of your Hereditary Neuropathy.  An excellent place to start is with a NeuropathyDr® clinician.  They have had great success in treating patients with hereditary neuropathy in all its various forms.

If you have a confirmed diagnosis of Hereditary Neuropathy or think you may have it, seek treatment now.  While you can’t be cured, you can take steps to treat and lessen your symptoms and greatly improve your quality of life.  Contact us today for information on how your Hereditary Neuropathy can be treated, your suffering lessened and exactly how to find a NeuropathyDr® in your area.

 

Toxic Neuropathy – The Phantom That Could Be Causing Your Pain

 


Your cholesterol was elevated so your doctor prescribed statins…

You work in a manufacturing environment…

You’ve been exposed to lead, mercury or thalium in your job…

You have a history of drug or alcohol abuse…

Any of these things can cause one of the most difficult types of peripheral neuropathy

to diagnose –

Toxic Neuropathy.[1]

If you have any of these problems with your feet:

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness

Or if you suffer from

  • Weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Shooting pain in your muscles

You could be suffering from toxic neuropathy.  You need to see a health care provider very familiar with the diagnosis and treatment of peripheral neuropathy in all its forms, preferably a NeuropathyDR® clinician.

It is vitally important that you obtain a diagnosis and start treatment as quickly as possible to prevent permanent nerve damage.

What Causes Toxic Neuropathy?

 

Toxic neuropathy is basically nerve damage caused by exposure to toxic substances.  The two most common causes of toxic neuropathy are drug abuse and exposure to chemicals on the job.  Any type of prolonged exposure to toxins in the environment can cause toxic neuropathy.  Even prolonged exposure to some organic insecticides or certain herbal medications can cause toxic neuropathy.  Some Chinese herbal medicines are particularly high in mercury and arsenic, both of which can cause peripheral neuropathy.

Why Is Toxic Neuropathy So Difficult to Diagnose?

 

Patients with toxic neuropathy often present with very subtle pain or mild weakness.  Because initial symptoms are fairly mild, it’s harder to pinpoint a diagnosis.  When symptoms are more pronounced and painful, there may be a lag time between the exposure to the toxin and the onset of significant symptoms.  The symptoms come on so gradually that it’s harder for the patient to give the doctor a clear picture of what they may have been exposed to.

The difficulty in diagnosing toxic neuropathy is one of the reasons that it is so important to consult a healthcare provider who specializes in treating neuropathy, like a NeuropathyDR®.  Because this is your NeuropathyDR® clinician’s field of expertise, he or she is more likely to pick up on subtleties that will allow a faster diagnosis.  Faster diagnosis means faster treatment and that means less chance for permanent nerve damage.

What is the Treatment for Toxic Neuropathy?

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician’s initial goal will be to confirm the diagnosis and then determine the toxin that caused your toxic neuropathy.  Once you know that caused the problem, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will sit down with you and formulate a plan to remove or minimize your exposure to the toxin.[2]

The next step is to devise a treatment plan.  If your toxic neuropathy was caused by drug use or abuse, the first order of business will be to stop the drug use.

If the cause of your toxic neuropathy was environmental, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you to formulate a plan to decrease or eliminate your exposure to the toxin.

Then you can begin treatment.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will

  • Advise you to take over-the-counter pain medication unless your symptoms are severe enough to warrant prescription pain medication.
  • If you are already suffering nerve deficits that are affecting your ability to perform basic daily tasks due to loss of sensation, you will need to take safety precautions to avoid falls.
  • Treat you with nerve stimulation and manual manipulation of your skeletal system to get your body back into alignment and alleviate your nerve pain.

Remember, toxic neuropathy can develop even after short term exposure to toxic chemicals or drugs.  If you are suffering from any of the symptoms we’ve discussed and you know or suspect you’ve been exposed to chemicals or you have or have had a drug problem, contact your local NeuropathyDR® clinician immediately.  Toxic neuropathy is treatable but any kind of neuropathy is very unforgiving of delay and your nerve damage could be permanent.

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

[1] http://www.neuropathy.org/site/DocServer/Toxin-Induced_Neuropathies.pdf?docID=1603

Getting a Grip on Diabetic Neuropathy

 

 

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

–          Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting

–          Difficulty swallowing

–          Deep pain, especially in your legs and feet

–          Loss of sensation and ability to feel warmth or cold

–          Muscle cramps

–          Numbness, tingling or burning in your arms, hands, legs or feet

–          Weakness

–          Dizziness, especially when you try to stand up

–          Drooping facial muscles

–          Loss of bladder control

You could have diabetic neuropathy.  Diabetic neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy specific to patients who have diabetes.  Typically, it’s caused by lack of blood flow to the nerves and elevated and uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

If left untreated, diabetic neuropathy can lead to debilitating nerve damage.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek treatment with a medical professional with experience in diagnosing and treating diabetic neuropathy like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

If your NeuropathyDR® specialist determines that you have diabetic neuropathy, it’s vital that you start treatment right away.

How Will My NeuropathyDR® Specialist Treat My Diabetic Neuropathy?

The first goal for treatment in diabetic neuropathy is to get your diabetes under control and keep it under control to slow the progression of any nerve damage.[2] That means ensuring that you’re taking any prescribed medications and that you’re eating a diet specific to diabetes control.

A diet specific to diabetes control will include:

–          Fresh vegetables

–          Fresh fruit

–          Lean meats

–          High fiber

–          Whole grains

–          No sweets

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

Pain Reduction and Nerve Repair

Once you have your blood sugar control, the next part of the treatment protocol for your diabetic neuropathy is taking steps to reduce your symptoms and help the nerves repair themselves.  This can be done through a combination of topical pain medications, manual manipulation of the bones and joints to properly align the nervous system and nerve stimulation.

Diet, proper alignment of the bones and muscles and nerve stimulation are all important aspects of successful treatment of diabetic neuropathy.

A Word To The Wise Diabetic Neuropathy Patient

If you are suffering from diabetic neuropathy, pay particular attention to your feet, hands, arms and legs and contact your NeuropathyDR® specialist immediately if you notice any blisters, sores, torn skin, or inflammation.   The combination of your diabetes and your diabetic neuropathy can lead to very serious infections that are slow or impossible to heal.   This can lead to dire complications that can be avoided if you receive the proper medical treatment early.

Make sure you’re doing a visual inspection and not relying on soreness or pain.  Your diabetic neuropathy will impair your ability to feel pain in your extremities and you may not notice the problem until it’s too late for successful treatment.

Assess your current medical situation and take note of any of the symptoms we described.  If you are experiencing any of these issues associated with diabetic neuropathy, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of peripheral neuropathies, including diabetic neuropathy.

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

 

 

Entrapment Neuropathy…Pain By Any Other Name

 


Ever heard of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Repetitive motion disorder?

Nerve compression syndrome?

How about a “trapped nerve”?

Chances are, you’ve probably heard of at least one of these conditions.

These medical conditions are entrapment neuropathies.

Entrapment neuropathies or compression neuropathies are a type of peripheral neuropathy caused by direct pressure on one nerve.  The pressure can be caused by trauma or injury to the specific nerve, repetitive use of a specific part of the body, a cast or brace that doesn’t fit properly or just frequently sitting with your arm over the back of a chair.

If you’re experiencing[1]

–           A burning or stinging pain in one part of your body

–           Tingling

–           Numbness

–           Muscle weakness

You could be suffering from entrapment neuropathy.  To avoid permanent nerve damage, you need to see a doctor immediately, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician, for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What Exactly Causes Entrapment Neuropathy?

You might be wondering why something as simple as sitting with your elbows on the table all the time can cause entrapment neuropathy for you but your Uncle Harry worked in a coal mine for 40 years swinging a pick axe and never had a problem with his arms, back or anything else.

Entrapment neuropathy occurs when some kind of external pressure disrupts the flow of blood through vessels that supply specific nerves.[2] This oxygen starvation can sometimes occur because of internal problems as well such as lesions, cysts or tumors or even substantial weight gain. When this happens over and over again, the nerve is starved of its oxygen supply and becomes damaged and eventually scarred.  Once this happens, it no longer functions properly.

If you have a chronic condition like diabetes[3] that already compromises your blood flow, the fact that Uncle Harry never had these issues and you do is probably more indicative of your overall physical condition than genetics.  Your body is just more susceptible to this type of injury.  You need to be more mindful of how you move and use whichever part of your body is affected.

How Will My NeuropathyDR® Diagnose Entrapment Neuropathy?

The symptoms you report will vary depending upon which part of your body is affected by entrapment neuropathy.  Your condition will probably start with tingling or pain in the nerves followed by loss of sensation or numbness.  Muscle weakness will be the last to develop and usually occurs because the muscles have atrophied due to lack of use (i.e., your hand hurts so you stop using it as much).

Entrapment or compression neuropathy can usually be diagnosed based on symptoms.  Be sure you keep a good record of when and how your symptoms started.

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will probably use nerve conduction studies to confirm the diagnosis and rule out the involvement of other nerves.  If entrapment neuropathy is suspected, your health care provider will then order an MRI to determine which nerve is damaged, how badly and to see if an internal issue such as a tumor or cyst is putting pressure on the nerve.

It is vitally important that you choose a health care provider with the clinical skills and experience to recognize your symptoms for what they are and distinguish them from other diseases.  Entrapment neuropathies can mimic other conditions and vice versa. The longer it takes to get the appropriate diagnosis and treatment, like the treatment protocol used exclusively by NeuropathyDR® clinicians, the more likely you are to have permanent nerve damage.

Treating Entrapment Neuropathy

If your NeuropathyDR® clinician determines that an underlying medical issue is causing your entrapment neuropathy, such as a tumor, cyst, inflammation or even weight gain, steps will be taken to first treat that condition.

If a tumor or cyst is the underlying problem, surgery may be ordered to remove the growth.  If you have issues with inflammation or weight gain, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you to design a weight loss program and nutrition plan to resolve either of these issues.

The nutrition counseling provided by your NeuropathyDR® clinician is part of an overall lifestyle modification plan that will help you control your weight and increase your physical activity, within your abilities, to reduce the likelihood of your entrapment neuropathy causing permanent nerve damage or recurring once your immediate problem is taken care of.

In concert with these two steps to treat your entrapment neuropathy, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will also prescribe manual manipulation to readjust your skeletal structure and nerve pathways and nerve stimulation therapy to assist your damaged nerve in healing and open up the flow of blood to help the nerves repair themselves.

All of these steps are integral parts of the exclusive NeuropathyDR® designed specifically for the treatment of peripheral neuropathies, including entrapment neuropathies in all its forms.

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