A Neuropathy Get Well Plan

A Neuropathy Get Well Plan

If you have spent even just a little time with our last few messages, you probably are starting to see there ARE some very easy steps you can take to deal with the effects of neuropathy.

Of course, everyone is different but simply relying on neuropathy treatment drugs to do the entire job can be risky.

Neuropathy is one of those health conditions that is caused by so many different conditions, toxins or diseases. Some are extraordinarily painful, and can really disrupt your life.

But, as bad as it can be, we find that taking some little steps can make for a much better quality of life. And we know from experience in the NeuropathyDR Center the sooner we can help you sort this out, the better and faster your progress will be!

There are probably at least three things in your life you really will need to take a look at.

No doubt, the first is your diet. Is it full of processed foods? Or, loaded with vegetables, lean protein. Are you drinking only clean water throughout the day or haven’t yet kicked the soda or juice habit?

Next is your relative fitness level. For example, are you in the best physical shape you can be given everything else you may be dealing with? Even patients with walkers need to move as much as possible throughout the day.

Last, not least and probably most important, what about your attitude? This is one area that has a huge impact on not only yourself, but also those trying to help you.

Tell us what concerns you the most...and we'll really listen!

I’m not saying it’s easy. If fact as your health professional, it can be one of the most difficult, but yet important things we can help you sort out.

And you know what? This is one area where talking about this in private in the clinic really can help!

I look forward to helping you with more steps toward neuropathy treatment success!  Join us on Facebook during the week and help others with what you have found helpful in your neuropathy game plan!

 

 

 

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 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

 

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.

Flu Vaccine and Peripheral Neuropathy

It’s that time of year again…

For the average, healthy person getting a flu shot is a no-brainer.

Pre-flu season…

And everywhere you look are signs advertising “Flu Shots – Walk Ins Welcome” or “Get Your Flu Shot Today.”

For the average, healthy person getting a flu shot is a no-brainer.

After all, the flu accounts for 200,000 hospitalizations every year and up to 36,000 deaths.  If you can take a shot and avoid that, why wouldn’t you?

But if you have peripheral neuropathy caused by

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)
  • Shingles
  • HIV/AIDS or some other immune system disorder
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Gluten sensitivity (also known as celiac disease)
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Hereditary neuropathy

You may think that a flu shot isn’t for you.

HIV patients tend to be especially skeptical about receiving the vaccine.

If you have peripheral neuropathy caused by any of these underlying illnesses, you need to make an informed choice about whether or not to get a flu shot.

This is what you need to know.

The Flu Vaccine Will Not Actually Make You Sick

Contrary to urban myth, the flu vaccine will not make you sick.  It works by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies that actually fight the virus. It does not give you the flu.

You also need to know that there is no evidence that the flu shot will make your neuropathy symptoms worse if your neuropathy is caused by any of the underlying illnesses we listed above.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control strongly recommends that peripheral neuropathy patients with any of these illnesses receive a flu shot every year because they’re more prone to developing serious complications if they get the flu.

A Word of Caution for Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP Patients

If your peripheral neuropathy is caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional before you receive the flu vaccine.

Because the vaccine keeps you from getting the flu by tricking your immune system into producing antibodies to fight it off,  if you have neuropathy caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP,  this immune stimulation may actually cause a relapse in patients with a history of either of these illnesses.

If you have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome and the resultant peripheral neuropathy in the past, it might be a good idea to wait at least one year after your symptoms are gone before you receive the flu shot.

If you have CIDP and your symptoms are still present, you might want to avoid the flu vaccine.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional and consider the chances of complications from the vaccine as opposed to the health risks of actually getting the flu.  Take into account:

  • Advanced age
  • Other chronic medical conditions
  • Possible relapse triggered by getting the flu virus

Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you receive the flu shot every year if you fall into any of these groups:

  • You’re six months to 19 years old
  • You’re 50 years of age or older
  • You have a chronic medical condition (lung, heart, liver or kidney disease, blood disorders, diabetes)
  • You live in a nursing home or other long term care facility
  • You live with or care for someone at high risk for complications from the flu (healthcare workers, people in your household (i.e., children too young to be vaccinated or people with chronic medical conditions)

In the end, the decision to get the flu shot or take a pass on it is up to you.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional before you make your decision and do what’s best for you.

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

Do You Have Peripheral Neuropathy?

If you have

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care

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

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)
  • Shingles
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Exposure to toxins

 

You have a pretty good idea of what to expect from your disease. Your doctor has probably given you a list of symptoms that you’re likely to experience, if you’re not experiencing them already.

But if in addition to the symptoms you were expecting, you’re having[1]

  • 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 be developing another symptom that your doctor might not have told you about.

And it could cause permanent nerve damage.

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

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy[2] is a condition that develops 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.

Granted, when you’re dealing with the debilitating effects of diabetes or cancer or HIV/AIDS, peripheral neuropathy may sound like nothing to really worry about.

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?

Peripheral neuropathy 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.

The damage caused by peripheral neuropathy can be so gradual that you don’t think much about it.

One day you have a small cut on one of your feet. The nerves in your feet are damaged so you don’t really feel it and you don’t know it’s there if you don’t pay really close attention to the condition of your feet.

That small wound becomes infected. Your immune system and circulatory system are compromised so the tissue doesn’t heal properly. Before you know it, you have a serious infection and you lose your foot.

You’re a little less likely to have that problem with your hands simply because you see them all the time and you’re much more likely to notice if something is wrong. That means you’ll seek treatment faster.

What To Do If You Think You’re Developing Peripheral Neuropathy
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.

First, find a local medical professional specializing in treating patients with peripheral neuropathy, like a NeuropathyDR® clinician. Make an appointment as soon as possible.

To get ready for your appointment –

  • Make note of what your underlying conditions are
  • Make a list of all medications you take
  • Write down when you first noticed your symptoms
  • Write down all of your symptoms
  • Write down what your typical daily diet looks like

 

Get started with treatment as quickly as possible to avoid additional nerve damage and possibly even reverse the damage that’s already there. Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you to treat your symptoms, adjust your diet if you’re not eating like you should in light of your underlying condition and give you information and help on coping with the effects of peripheral neuropathy.

It’s critical that you seek treatment immediately.

For more information on determining whether or not you have peripheral neuropathy and how to cope with it if you do, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

[1] http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm
[2] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peripheral-neuropathy/DS00131/METHOD

Gluten Sensitivity and Peripheral Neuropathy

Gluten free bakeries…

Many people who have peripheral neuropathy symptoms with no other indicators for neuropathy should be checked for celiac disease.

Gluten free cereals…

Totally gluten free diets…

You can’t look through a magazine or turn on the TV these days without seeing something about the benefits of going gluten free in your diet.

Going gluten-free is more than just the latest fad diet.

Especially for the growing number of people with celiac disease (aka gluten sensitivity)[1].

If you’re one of those people, you’re probably all too familiar with the symptoms of celiac disease:

  • Anemia
  • Change in weight
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
  • General weakness
  • Oily, foul-smelling stools
  • Stomach problems, cramping, gas, distention, bloating, vomiting

Those symptoms all make sense when you understand exactly what celiac disease is.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that damages the lining of the small intestine.  If you have celiac disease, eating foods that contain gluten – a protein found in wheat and other grains – starts a reaction in your autoimmune system that directly affects the small intestine.  Without treatment, celiac disease can lead to cancer, anemia, seizures, osteoporosis – any of these can be fatal.

Since celiac disease directly affects the small intestine, digestive issues make perfect sense.  But what about these symptoms:

  • Burning, tingling and numbness in hands and feet
  • Loss of feeling in hands and feet
  • Numbness, tingling or reduced sensation in the face and body

The Celiac Disease – Peripheral Neuropathy Connection

At first glance, it’s hard to make the connection between gluten sensitivity and peripheral neuropathy.  A recent study discovered that about 10% of people with celiac disease had peripheral neuropathy symptoms before their digestive system issues appeared.  For that reason, many people who have peripheral neuropathy symptoms with no other indicators for neuropathy, should be checked for celiac disease as a possible cause of their peripheral neuropathy.

The best thing you can do for yourself is contact a neuropathy specialist, like your local NeuropathyDr® clinician, to undergo the appropriate testing to find out if celiac disease is causing your peripheral neuropathy.

Testing and Evaluation

If you have peripheral neuropathy and/or celiac disease symptoms and haven’t been tested for one or both of these conditions, this is what you can expect.

To determine if you have peripheral neuropathy, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will conduct a thorough neurological examination, electromyography and nerve conduction tests.

If you determine that you have neuropathy and you don’t have any other underlying potential cause, the next step will be to test you for celiac disease.  Those tests will include blood tests and possibly a biopsy of the lining of your small intestine.

Living with Celiac Disease and Peripheral Neuropathy

Once your testing is completed, if you have celiac disease your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you to manage your condition.  In order to manage your celiac disease symptoms you will need to:

  • Follow a gluten-free diet for the rest of your life[2]
  • Avoid all foods containing wheat
  • Avoid other grains that contain gluten (rye, barley and oats – that means no pasta, grains, cereals and many processed foods).

To help cope with your peripheral neuropathy symptoms caused by your celiac disease, you should:

  • Stop taking any medications that cause peripheral neuropathy (like statins to lower cholesterol)
  • Modify your lifestyle to reduce your pain – like avoiding standing or walking for extended periods of time
  • Wear looser shoes
  • Soak your feet in ice water
  • Take pain medications prescribed by your NeuropathyDR® clinician
  • Take safety precautions to compensate for your inability to feel sensation in your feet and hands
  • Ask your NeuropathyDr® clinician about special therapeutic shoes that may be covered by insurance or Medicare

Celiac disease and peripheral neuropathy can wreak havoc on your body.  Talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician to take steps to minimize the ill effects of both your conditions.

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


Exercising Caution With Autonomic Neuropathy

If you’ve been diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy[1], you know you’re at risk for some serious medical issues.

Exercise can help control the symptoms of your underlying illness and by doing that, you can help lessen the symptoms of your autonomic neuropathy.

Autonomic neuropathy (i.e., nerve damage to the autonomic nervous system) can affect every system in the body, especially:

  • Cardiovascular – your heart, blood pressure and circulation
  • Respiratory
  • Gastrointestinal – your digestion, ability to ability to empty your bowels
  • Genitourinary – erectile dysfunction and loss of bladder control

While you’re dealing some or all of these issues, exercise may not be on your radar.

But it should be.

Exercise can help control the symptoms of your underlying illness (whatever caused your autonomic neuropathy) and by doing that, you can help lessen the symptoms of your autonomic neuropathy.

But a word of caution is in order here.

The very nature of your autonomic neuropathy can affect the systems that are most sensitive to the effects of exercise.  Any exercise program you begin should be designed and monitored by a medical professional well versed in the effects of autonomic neuropathy, like your NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Use Vs. Disuse

When you’re thinking about starting an exercise program[2] and you’re thinking about how dangerous it can be, you also need to consider the effects of not starting an exercise program.  The effects of not exercising are called “disuse syndrome”.  If your level of activity seriously out of synch with your level of inactivity, you can develop:

  • Decreased physical work capacity
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Negative nitrogen and protein balance
  • Cardiovascular deconditioning
  • Pulmonary restrictions
  • Depression

The effects of any of these symptoms of disuse syndrome in combination with your autonomic neuropathy symptoms can make a bad situation even worse.

What You Need To Think About Before You Start Exercising

Think about what happens to your body when you exercise.

Your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes labored, you sweat.

Every single one of those results is controlled by the autonomic nervous system.  Autonomic neuropathy can seriously impact how your body responds to the stimulus of exercise.  And your body may not react as it should.

  • Heart rate – If your autonomic neuropathy affects your cardiovascular system, you need to make sure that your exercise program is designed and monitored by your NeuropathyDR® clinician. Your autonomic neuropathy can lead to abnormal heart rate, inability to properly regulate blood pressure and redistribution of blood flow.  Your cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy may cause you to have a higher resting rate and lower maximal heart rates during exercise.
  • Blood pressure – Blood pressure response with posture change and during exercise is abnormal in patients with cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy.  Postural hypotension, defined as a drop in blood pressure may be seen.  This can mean that the blood pressure doesn’t react normally during exercise.  Symptoms are similar to hypoglycemia and may be mistaken for a drop in blood glucose even though it’s actually a drop in blood pressure.  Patients should be alerted to the potential confusion in these symptoms and instructed to check blood glucose before treating for hypoglycemia.
  • Sweating and Disruption of Blood Flow – Autonomic neuropathy may reduce or even eliminate your ability to sweat.  The loss of sweating, especially in your feet, can cause dry, brittle skin on the feet and you can develop skin ulcers.  It can also make it more difficult for your body to respond to cold and heat. You need to make sure that you’re taking proper care of your feet before and during any exercise program.  Make sure your shoes fit properly and examine your feet regularly to make sure you don’t have any sores, cracks or ulcers.

Autonomic neuropathy can have a serious effect on the very systems in the body that are directly affected by exercise.  Make sure you talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician before you start an exercise program and let them monitor your progress.

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.

Answering the “Why” of Neuropathy

If you’ve been diagnosed with neuropathy as a result of

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care

Neuropathy doesn’t just affect the hands and feet.

  • Diabetes
  • HIV/AIDS or some other autoimmune disease
  • Chemotherapy
  • Shingles
  • Heredity

You probably have more questions than answers.

Neuropathy is probably the one symptom you never expected when you received your diagnosis.

To understand why you developed neuropathy, it helps to understand exactly what neuropathy is.

What Is Neuropathy?

Neuropathy[1] is a condition caused by damage to the peripheral nervous system.  The peripheral nervous system controls communication between your brain and your spinal cord and every other part of your body.  When you pick up a hot pan and feel the pain of the burn, that’s the peripheral nervous system at work.

When the peripheral nervous system is damaged by whatever your other condition is, the communication super highway of the peripheral nervous system is disrupted.  The signals from the brain and spinal cord don’t make it to whatever part of the body is affected by your neuropathy.  It’s like going into a dead zone with your cell phone and not having any “bars”.  Your nerves just don’t make the proper connection.

And neuropathy doesn’t just affect the hands and feet.  It can affect your digestive system, your cardiovascular system, your reproductive system, even your brain.

What Causes Neuropathy?

Any number of things can cause your neuropathy.  Here are a couple of common examples:

If you have diabetes and your blood glucose levels aren’t controlled and have been high for significant period of time, the blood vessels that carry oxygen to your nerves can be damaged.  Sort of like a potted plant that doesn’t get enough sunlight or water.  Your nerves will wither and cease to function, just like your sunlight deprived plant.

If you HIV/AIDS or some other autoimmune disease, your immune system begins to attack your body and that can include your nervous system.  That causes damage to the peripheral nerves.

Any of the conditions we discussed earlier can cause neuropathy because they all can damage your nervous system.  The damage and the part of the nervous system damaged can vary as much as the patients with neuropathy but any of these illnesses places you at a much higher risk than the average person for developing neuropathy.

What Happens Once Those Nerves Are Damaged?

If your nervous system is damaged you can experience[2]

  • Numbness in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Inability to feel heat, cold or even pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet
  • Burning or tingling or even the “pins and needles” feeling you get when your legs or arms “go to sleep”
  • Changes in the shape of your feet caused by weakened muscles
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

If your neuropathy affects your autonomic nervous system, you can experience

  • Digestive problems like nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Inability to regulate your blood pressure

Your NeuropathyDR® specialist has an exclusive treatment protocol with proven results for 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.

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 neuropathy, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of 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.