Why Do Diabetics Develop Neuropathy?

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

If left untreated, diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious and possibly permanent nerve damage.

  • 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.  If left untreated, diabetic neuropathy can lead to serious and possibly permanent 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.

Why Does Diabetes Cause Neuropathy?

If 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.  Elevated blood glucose can also damage the sheath that covers and protects the nerves. That leaves them vulnerable to damage.  Diabetic neuropathy is just the medical term for the nerve damage caused by elevated blood glucose levels.

What Happens to Your Body Once Those Nerves Are Damaged?

Diabetic neuropathy happens when the nervous system is damaged.

If your peripheral 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

How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Diabetic Neuropathy?

The best defense against diabetic neuropathy is to get and keep your blood sugar under control.  Your best bet for doing that is proper diet, strictly monitoring your blood sugar levels and always taking your diabetes medication as prescribed by your doctor.

A good diet for controlling your blood sugar includes:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • 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.

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.

Making the Most of Your Time with Your Doctor to Treat Your Peripheral Neuropathy

If you’ve been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, chances are that diagnosis was made by your family doctor.

The longer you wait, the more severe and potentially permanent your nerve damage can be.

Chances are even better that he’s sent you to a specialist to confirm that diagnosis and begin immediate treatment (if you’re lucky).

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy as a result of[1]:

  • Diabetes
  • Shingles
  • Chemotherapy
  • HIV/AIDS or some other immune deficiency disease
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

If your treating physician hasn’t referred you to a specialist, one of the best things you can do is request a referral to a specialist in treating peripheral neuropathy, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Once that referral is made, you need to take advantage of every minute you have with your specialist.  Peripheral neuropathy is not a condition forgiving of delayed treatment.  The longer you wait, the more severe and long-lasting (potentially permanent) your nerve damage can be.

So What Should You Do?

First, realize that your appointment with your specialist is much more than just time blocked on both your schedules.  It’s a chance to take your life back.  If you have peripheral neuropathy, your body is at war and this is your chance to win.

You want to be prepared so you can take advantage of every minute and get started with an effective treatment program ASAP.

To do that, you need to[2]

  • Write your symptoms down, even if you don’t think they have anything to do with your peripheral neuropathy.  Making a list will ensure that you don’t forget anything.
  • Make a list of every medication you take.  That includes vitamins, herbal supplements and anything over the counter.  Those liquid glucosamine drinks you may be taking to alleviate joint pain count as a medication.
  • Line up someone to go with you, either a family member or a friend.  You’ll want someone there to write down what the doctor tells you.  There’s no way you’ll remember it all.
  • Write down any questions you want to ask.  There is no such thing as a stupid question so ask about anything you’re not sure about.

Here are a few samples:

  1. What causes peripheral neuropathy?
  2. Does everyone have the same symptoms or are mine different?
  3. What else could be causing my symptoms?
  4. Are there any tests I need?
  5. What are my chances of a full recovery?
  6. Will the treatment you’re prescribing have any side effects?
  7. What are my treatment options?
  8. Do you have any reading material I can take home to learn more about peripheral neuropathy?

These are just suggestions so don’t limit yourself to these questions.  Again, write down anything you’re not sure about.

Be Ready to Help Your Doctor

Depending on your symptoms, your underlying medical conditions and any other issues that are specific to you and your peripheral neuropathy, your doctor will ask you quite a few questions.

To make the most efficient use of your time with him, do what you can to help him.  Think about the answers to these basic questions before your appointment:

  • Do you have any underlying medical conditions (like the ones we listed above?)
  • When did you first notice your symptoms?
  • How often do you experience your symptoms? Do you have problems at specific times of the day or after any specific activity?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being mild and 10 being severe), how would you rate your symptoms?
  • Have you noticed anything that makes your symptoms better or worse?

Just thinking about these questions ahead of time and actually putting together answers will make your time with your NeuropathyDR® clinician or other specialist more efficient and productive.  You’ll both be much happier with the result if you know what to expect.

And don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for suggestions to help you manage your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician specializes in treating the whole patient, including recommending lifestyle changes, preparing diet plans, whatever it takes to make your treatment plan effective for you.

We hope this gives you a head start on taking charge of your peripheral neuropathy and making sure that you and your medical professional get the most out of your time together.

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


Peripheral Neuropathy and Foot Wear –Your Shoes Could Be Killing You

Have you been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy?

If you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet, choosing the right shoes is vitally important.

Do you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet and/or legs?

Has your doctor told you how important it is to take proper care of your feet?

Now, for the $25,000 bonus question…

Are you doing what your doctor tells you to do?

Many patients with peripheral neuropathy don’t take proper care of their feet and don’t follow their doctors’ instructions on foot care.

If you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet, not following your doctor’s instructions about the type of shoes you should wear and how to care for your feet can lead to amputation…

Ultimately, it could cost your life.

You’re Not Alone

If you’re not listening to your doctor and doing everything he tells you to do to care for your feet, you’re not the only one.[1]

A recent study that followed 41 patients with type 2 diabetes found that

  • 90% of the patients had been educated about proper footwear
  • 83% washed and dried their feet properly every day
  • 51% actually foot self-exams recommended by their doctors

But more than half the patients admitted that they walked around the house and even outside with no shoes.  And more than two thirds of them were not wearing appropriate footwear.  They were wearing shoes with pointed toes, high heels or flip flops, and even worse.

Finding the Right Shoes

If you have peripheral neuropathy in your feet, choosing the right shoes is vitally important.  Here are some tips to help you know what to look for and what to avoid when you’re buying shoes:

  • Never wear shoes with pointed toes.
  • Avoid shoes with a really flat sole or high heels.  Neither of these styles allow for even distribution of foot pressure.
  • Buy shoes with soft insoles.
  • Never buy plastic or synthetic materials that don’t allow your feet to breathe.
  • Only wear shoes made of leather, suede or canvas that allow air to circulate around your feet and help them stay dry.
  • Avoid slip ons – buy shoes with laces and buckles that allow you to adjust how tight your shoes are.
  • Ask for professional assistance in getting the proper fit in every pair of shoes you buy.
  • Proper shoes don’t have to look like something your grandmother would wear.  You can buy stylish shoes that won’t land you in the hospital.

Remember that neuropathy is nerve damage.  That means that the nerves in your feet are not functioning properly and you may not feel a problem until it’s too late and you have sores, blisters or ulcers.  Those can be deadly.

See Your Doctor Regularly

Ultimately, you need to see your doctor regularly[2].  Find a doctor who specializes in treating patients with neuropathy, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.  They can help you choose proper footwear and take care of your feet on a routine basis and stop any problems before they’re severe.  By seeing your doctor regularly and staying on top of any issues you may have, you can reduce your risk of amputation by between 20% and 70%.

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

Cholesterol Medication and Peripheral Neuropathy

Lipitor…

Once you know what caused the problem, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will sit down with you and formulate a plan.

Zocor…

Crestor…

If you own a television, you’ve probably seen at least one commercial for these popular cholesterol lowering medications.

If your cholesterol is high your doctor has probably prescribed one of them.

These drugs belong to a group of medications called statins and while they’re very effective in lowering your cholesterol levels, they have a serious side effect.

Patients taking statins are 14 times more likely to develop peripheral neuropathy than people not taking statins.[1]

If you’re taking statins and you have any of these problems with your feet:

  • Burning pain
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Prickling sensation

Or if you suffer from

  • Weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Shooting pain in your muscles

You could be suffering from statin 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 Statin Neuropathy?

Statin neuropathy is nerve damage caused by exposure to cholesterol lowering medication.  By lowering cholesterol, statins also affect the cholesterol rich membranes that surround the nerves.   Prolonged exposure to statins just makes your peripheral neuropathy worse.

Why Is Statin Neuropathy So Difficult to Diagnose?

Patients with statin neuropathy often present with very subtle pain or mild weakness.  Because initial symptoms are fairly mild, it’s harder to pinpoint a diagnosis.  Many patients with statin neuropathy write off their early symptoms to being tired or just getting older.  The symptoms come on so gradually that it’s harder for the patient to give the doctor a clear picture of exactly when they started.

The difficulty in diagnosing statin 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 Statin Neuropathy?

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician’s initial goal will be to confirm the diagnosis and then determine that what you have is statin neuropathy and not neuropathy caused by some other underlying illness.  Once you know what caused the problem, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will sit down with you and formulate a plan to take you off your statin medications, at least for awhile to see if your symptoms improve.[2]

The next step is to 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, statin neuropathy can develop even after short term exposure to statins.  If you are suffering from any of the symptoms we’ve discussed, contact your local NeuropathyDR® clinician immediately.  Statin 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 statin neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

Peripheral Neuropathy and Your Quality of Life

If you’re suffering from peripheral neuropathy, you know how much it affects your life.

You may feel like your situation is hopeless, especially if you’ve become mired in depression. But it isn’t.

Every single day…

Even the simplest tasks can be difficult if not impossible…

To anyone unfamiliar with peripheral neuropathy and its symptoms, they might just think “your nerves hurt a little…”

But at a peripheral neuropathy sufferer, you know better…

Peripheral neuropathy not only affects your health, it can wreck your quality of life.

How Do You Define Quality of Life?

Generally speaking, Quality of Life is a term used to measure a person’s overall well-being. In medical terms, it usually means how well a patient has adapted to a medical condition.  It measures[1]:

  • Your physical and material well being
  • Your social relationships – how you interact with others
  • Your social activities
  • Your personal fulfillment – your career, any creative outlets you may have, how involved you are with other interests)
  • Your recreational activities – your hobbies, sports, etc.
  • Your actual health – what your health is really like and how healthy you believe you are

How do you feel about these aspects of your life?  Your attitude and approach to your illness, both your neuropathy and the underlying cause of your neuropathy (i.e., diabetes, HIV/AIDS, lupus, etc.) can make a huge difference in how well you adapt to your neuropathy symptoms.

Neuropathy Symptoms Aren’t Just Physical

The pain of peripheral neuropathy falls into the category of what is considered chronic pain.  It usually doesn’t just come and go.  You can’t just pop a couple of aspirin and forget about it.  It’s pain with its root cause in nerve damage.

The nerves that actually register pain are the actual cause of the pain.  When you’re in that kind of pain on a consistent basis, it affects you in many different ways[2]:

  • You become depressed and/or anxious
  • Your productivity and interest at work is disrupted
  • You can’t sleep
  • It’s difficult for you to get out and interact with other people so you feel isolated
  • You sometimes don’t understand why you’re not getting better

What You Can Do To Improve Your Quality of Life

You may feel like your situation is hopeless, especially if you’ve become mired in depression.

But it isn’t.

There are things you can do to lessen the physical (and emotional) effects of peripheral neuropathy and help you function as normally as possible:

  • Pay special attention to caring for your feet.  Inspect them daily for cuts, pressure spots, blisters or calluses (use a mirror to look at the bottom of your feet).   The minute you notice anything out of the ordinary, call your doctor or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician for help.  Never go barefoot – anywhere.
  • Treat yourself to a good foot massage to improve your circulation and reduce pain.  Check with your insurance company – if massage is actually prescribed by your doctor, they may cover some of the cost.
  • Only wear shoes that are padded, supportive and comfortable and never wear tight socks.
  • If you smoke, quit.  Nicotine decreases circulation and if you’re a peripheral neuropathy patient, you can’t risk that.
  • Cut back on your caffeine intake.  Several studies have found that caffeine may actually make neuropathy pain worse.
  • If you sit at a desk, never cross your knees or lean on your elbows.  The pressure will only make your nerve damage worse.
  • Be really careful when using hot water.  Your peripheral neuropathy may affect the way you register changes in temperature and it’s really easy for you to burn yourself and not even realize it.
  • Use a “bed cradle” to keep your sheets away from your feet if you experience pain when trying to sleep.  That will help you rest.
  • Try to be as active as possible.  Moderate exercise is great for circulation and it can work wonders for your emotional and mental health.
  • Make your home as injury proof as possible – install bath assists and/or hand rails and never leave anything on the floor that you can trip over.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.  If you don’t know what you should and shouldn’t eat, talk to your NeuropathyDR® clinician about a personalized diet plan to maintain proper weight and give your body what it needs to heal.
  • Try to get out as often as possible to socialize with others.

We hope this information helps you to better manage your peripheral neuropathy symptoms.  Take a look at the list above and see how many of these things you’re already doing to help yourself. Then talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician about help with adding the others to your daily life.

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


Could Your Diet Be Making Your Neuropathy Worse?

If you’ve been diagnosed with neuropathy as a result of[1]

Your local NeuropathyDR™ treatment specialist can help you create a personalized diet plan for your digestive issues.

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Lupus
  • Shingles
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Lyme Disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Repetitive stress injury

We don’t need to tell you how miserable the symptoms can be…

If you

Take your medication…

Take precautions to account for muscles weakness or loss of strength in your arms and legs…

Do whatever your doctor tells you to do and your symptoms still aren’t improving.

In addition to the neuropathy caused by your illness, you could be suffering from nutritional neuropathy.

What Causes Nutritional Neuropathy?

One of the leading causes of nutritional neuropathy is vitamin deficiency, especially Vitamin B12.  If you don’t eat meat, dairy products or even fish, you might not be getting the vitamins you would normally get from those foods.

If, in addition to your underlying illness, you also suffer from

  • Anemia
  • Gastritis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Other chronic digestive problem

Your body is probably not getting the nutrition it needs from what you’re eating.  That can lead to nutritional neuropathy.

Any condition you have that affects your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients and vitamins from your food can lead to nutritional neuropathy.  And that just makes a bad situation worse if you already have some other type of neuropathy caused by one of the illnesses we just mentioned.

How Nutritional Neuropathy Affects Your Body

Even though the name implies that nutritional neuropathy is linked to your digestive system, it can affect much more than that.

Your body runs on what you feed it.  If your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs, the malnutrition begins to affect every system in your body.  Eventually it affects the peripheral nervous system. The nerves are damaged and no longer function properly.

If your nutritional neuropathy affects your autonomic nervous system, it can lead to problems with blood pressure, an inability to control your bladder or bowels, or even sexual dysfunction.

If your nutritional neuropathy affects your sensory nerves, you can have problems with your sense of touch – not just possibly an inability to feel sensation but a heightened sense of sensation.  Imagine the sheets on your bed feeling like sand paper against your skin.

If your nutritional neuropathy affects your motor nerves, you can lose the ability to control your muscles, you could lose your balance and the muscle cramps you experience from your neuropathy can be even worse.

Even if your neuropathy is being treated with physical therapy or even drug therapies, you still need a healthy diet to give your body what it needs to heal.

If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding nutritional neuropathy, you need the right diet.

Good Nutrition Can Be Your Secret Weapon

The very first thing you need to do is make sure you’re giving your body the right tools to fight back against nutritional neuropathy.  That means a healthy diet and managing your digestive condition.

Talk to your doctor, preferably a NeuropathyDR® clinician, about all of your underlying medical conditions.  Your diet will not only need to include the vitamins and minerals, but you also need to take into account any digestive problems you may be experiencing that will prevent your body from absorbing the good stuff you put into it.

A healthy diet should include[2]:

  • Whole grains and legumes to provide B vitamins to promote nerve health.  Whole grains promote the production of serotonin in the brain and will increase your feeling of well-being.
  • Fish and eggs for additional vitamins B12 and B1.
  • Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, and other greens) for calcium and magnesium. Both of these nutrients are vital to healthy nerve endings and health nerve impulse transmission and, as an added bonus, they give your immune system a boost.
  • Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (such as squash, carrots, yellow and orange bell peppers, apricots, oranges, etc.) for vitamins A and C to help repair your skin and boost your immune system.
  • Sunflower seeds (unsalted), avocados, broccoli, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts (unsalted), tomatoes and tomato products, sweet potatoes and fish for vitamin E to promote skin health and ease the pain of nutritional neuropathy.
  • Ask your neuropathy specialist for recommendations on a good multivitamin and mineral supplement to fill in any gaps in your nutrition plan.

Foods you should avoid:

  • Coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
  • Fried foods and all other fatty foods.  Fatty foods suppress the immune system and that’s the last thing you need when you’re fighting nutritional neuropathy.
  • Control the amount of animal protein you eat.  High-protein foods elevate the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine which are both tied to high levels of anxiety and stress.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.  Alcohol consumption limits the ability of the liver to remove toxins from the body and can make a bad situation worse.

Talk to your local NeuropathyDR™ treatment specialist for a personalized diet plan to help you to help your body to heal with the right nutritional support for nutritional neuropathy and your digestive issues.

We hope this gives you some tips to get started on the road to putting nutritional neuropathy behind you.  Working with your medical team, including your local NeuropathyDR™ specialist, to design a nutrition plan tailored to your specific needs is a great place to start.

For more information on recovering from nutritional neuropathy, get our 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.

 

 

 

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

Autonomic Neuropathy – Silent and Serious


 

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?

∙           Dizziness and fainting when you stand up

∙           Difficulty digesting food and feeling really full when you’ve barely eaten anything

∙           Abnormal perspiration – either sweating excessively or barely at all

∙           Intolerance for exercise – no, not that you just hate it but your heart rate doesn’t adjust as it should

∙           Slow pupil reaction so that your eyes don’t adjust quickly to changes in light

∙           Urinary problems like difficulty starting or inability to completely empty your bladder

If they do, you could have autonomic neuropathy. Especially if you have diabetes, your immune system is compromised by chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, lupus, Guillian-Barre or any other chronic medical condition.

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 Autonomic Neuropathy?

Autonomic neuropathy in itself is not a disease[1].  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 break down 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.

That can lead to 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.

Often, autonomic neuropathy is caused by other diseases or medical conditions so if you suffer from

∙           Diabetes

∙           Alcoholism

∙           Cancer

∙           Systemic lupus

∙           Parkinson’s disease

∙           HIV/AIDS

Or any number of other chronic illnesses, you stand a much higher risk of developing autonomic neuropathy.[2] Your best course of action is not to wait until you develop symptoms.  Begin a course of preventative treatment and monitoring with a NeuropathyDR® clinician to lessen your chances of developing autonomic neuropathy.

How Will My NeuropathyDR® Diagnose My Autonomic Neuropathy?

If you have diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDs or any of the other diseases or chronic conditions that can cause autonomic neuropathy, it’s much easier to diagnose autonomic neuropathy.  After all, as a specialist in nerve damage and treatment, your NeuropathyDR®  is very familiar with your symptoms and the best course of treatment.

If you have symptoms of autonomic neuropathy and don’t have any of the underlying conditions, your diagnosis will be a little tougher but not impossible.

Either way, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will take a very thorough history and physical.  Make sure you have a list of all your symptoms, when they began, how severe they are, what helps your symptoms or makes them worse, and any and all medications your currently take (including over the counter medications, herbal supplements or vitamins).

Be honest with your NeuropathyDR® clinician about your diet, alcohol intake, frequency of exercise, history of drug use and smoking.  If you don’t tell the truth, you’re not giving your NeuropathyDR® clinician a clear picture of your physical condition.  That’s like asking them to drive you from Montreal to Mexico City without a map or a GPS.  You may eventually get to where you want to be, but it’s highly unlikely.

Once your history and physical are completed, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will order some tests. Depending upon your actual symptoms and which systems seem to be affected, these tests might include:

∙           Ultrasound

∙           Urinalysis and bladder function tests

∙           Thermoregulatory and/or QSART sweat tests

∙           Gastrointestinal tests

∙           Breathing tests

∙           Tilt-table tests (to test your heart rate and blood pressure regulation)

Once your tests are completed and your NeuropathyDR® clinician determines you have autonomic neuropathy, it’s time for treatment.

Treatment and Prognosis

NeuropathyDR® clinicians are well versed in treating all types of peripheral neuropathy, including autonomic neuropathy.  They adhere to a very specialized treatment protocol that was developed specifically for patients suffering from neuropathy.  That’s why their treatments have been so successful – neuropathy in all its forms is what they do.

Autonomic neuropathy is a chronic condition but it can be treated and you can do things to help relieve your symptoms.

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.

If you have gastrointestinal issues caused by autonomic neuropathy, you need to make  sure you’re getting enough fiber and fluids to help your body function properly.

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

If your autonomic neuropathy affects your urinary system, you need to retrain your bladder.  You can do this by following a schedule of when to drink and when to empty your bladder to slowly increase your bladder’s capacity.

∙          Individually Designed Exercise Programs

If you experience exercise intolerance or blood pressure problems resulting from  autonomic neuropathy, 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.

∙           Lifestyle Modifications

If your autonomic neuropathy causes dizziness when you stand up, then do it slowly and in stages.  Flex your feet or grip your hands several times before you attempt to stand to  increase the flow of blood to your hands and feet.  Try just sitting on the side of your bed in the morning for a few minutes before you try to stand.

Change the amount and frequency of your meals if you have digestive problems.

Don’t try to do everything all at once.  Decide what really needs to be done each day and do what you can.  Autonomic neuropathy is a chronic disorder and living with any chronic condition requires adaptations.  Your NeuropathyDR® clinician knows this all too well and will work with you to manage your level of stress and change your daily routines to help you manage your condition and your life.

All of these changes in conjunction with medications, where needed, will make it easier to live with autonomic neuropathy and lessen the chances of serious complications.  Early intervention with a NeuropathyDR® clinician is still the best policy if you have any of the underlying conditions that can cause autonomic neuropathy.  But 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.

 

 

 

 

Is Your Diet Affecting Your Neuropathy?

The next time you have a headache…

Or indigestion…

Or even muscle cramps or twitching…

Go online and “Google” any of those terms and see what you come up with.

I’m willing to bet you’ll be terrified by the results.

For headache you’ll see anything from brain tumor to bleeding in the brain to meningitis and encephalitis.

Indigestion will lead you to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, cancer, or even abnormality of the pancreas or bile ducts.

And muscle cramps or twitching will run the gamut from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Your search will also give you the more common reasons for any of these symptoms.  Many people latch on to the more dramatic reasons and begin living like every day is their last.[1]

Others will downplay symptoms, assume that they have something simple to treat and go to the corner drug store and buy whatever over the counter remedy “seems” to treat their symptoms.

Either of these reactions could be courting disaster.  Especially if you have a condition that can lead to peripheral neuropathy.  Delaying treatment with your local NeuropathyDR® clinician can lead to severe lifelong nerve damage that will destroy your quality of life.

Expecting the Worst

If you fall into the “I know I’m dying” category, you will probably begin doctor shopping.  Going from specialist to specialist looking for someone to confirm the worst.  Even beyond the physical damage the stress of this process can do to your body, your emotional well-being is destroyed.

You live day to day expecting the worst with the specter of the Grim Reaper hanging over your shoulder.  That is no way to live.

The first thing you need to do is make appointment with your primary care provider, preferably a NeuropathyDR® clinician.  Tell them your symptoms and let them do some diagnostic testing.  If the results warrant it, they will get you started on a treatment protocol to not only alleviate your symptoms but treat the root cause of your medical problem.  The NeuropathyDR® treatment protocol includes nutrition counseling, diet planning, stress management techniques, and hands on adjustment to properly align your nervous system.

If you actually do have a serious condition, the earlier you start this process, the better off you’ll be.  The earlier you receive treatment for any condition that can lead to peripheral neuropathy, the less your chances of permanent nerve damage.

Ignoring the Obvious

The other end of the spectrum is the patient who does their own research, opts for the condition easily treatable with over the counter meds, and puts off seeing a specialist until their symptoms are much worse.

Let’s take the muscle twitching or cramping symptom as an example.  Yes, this could be caused by overworking the muscle or even a vitamin deficiency.   Either of those are easy to fix.

But what if it’s something more serious?

If the condition lasts longer than a few days, you need to see your local NeuropathyDR® clinician. You could have a condition leading to peripheral neuropathy.  Failing to treat the underlying cause quickly can lead to lasting nerve damage, muscle degeneration, and ultimately, even amputation of the affected limb.[2]

Something as simple as seeing a specialist well versed in conditions affecting the bones, muscles and bones, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician, can make the difference between life in a wheelchair and getting back to normal quickly.

Cyberchondria vs. Informed Caution

Before you think we’re advocating running to the doctor every time you have a hang nail, that is definitely not the case.  We’re not advocating the spread of Cyberchondria[3] (i.e., the rising epidemic of online diagnosis and treatment), just asking that you approach any medical condition with informed caution.

An informed and educated patient is a gift for any physician.  Informed patients are much more likely to participate in their own care and keep their physician apprised of any changes in their condition.  That’s a win for both sides.

Instead of using the internet as a tool to diagnose (or, in many cases, misdiagnose) your own conditions, choose to use it as a means of educating yourself enough to provide your health care provider with all the information he needs to accurately and quickly diagnose your illness.

You’ll be making your life, and your NeuropathyDR® clinician’s life, much easier.

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