Hypoxia and Neuropathy (Part 1)

The common link in all of these peripheral neuropathies, regardless of the cause, appears to be hypoxia.

Hypoxia is simply a word that describes loss of oxygen. This occurs at what are called the neuronal junctions: the areas in the human body where one nerve cell communicates to another.

At a simplistic level, nerve cells communicate electrochemically across a gap. In neuropathy caused by hypoxia, this neuronal gap widens, which is theorized to be responsible for the symptoms that include not only the burning and the tingling but the shooting pains as well.

Neuropathy and chronic pain is characterized by pain, numbness, loss of tactile feedback, and poor tissue perfusion. These symptoms may indicate that oxygen is not getting to all the cells causing dysfunction.

Because the patient’s quality of life is decreased, these results are often devastating.  Pain medications do not cure the condition; it only helps mask it and, eventually, leads to complications with adverse side effects such as mental confusion and intestinal problems.

As a result of conducting our own research and reviewing published studies from around the world, we have been led to new models concerning the causes of neuropathy and chronic pain.  We have concluded that it is not reasonable to merely label neuropathy and chronic pain symptoms as diabetic, peripheral, vascular, or “idiopathic”. What is needed is a more full understanding of the etiology of the condition so new technology can be brought to bear with both ameliorative and therapeutic benefits.

We’ll discuss hypoxia, neuropathy, and chronic pain further in our next post.

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

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Copper: Another Key Neuropathy Nutrient

Most people don’t think about copper as a key nutrient. Or in any way related to peripheral neuropathy or chronic pain. But as you’ll see, a small daily amount is necessary and essential to normal health and well-being.

Only the tiniest amounts are necessary for normal health. But like so many nutrients, lack this tiny amount, and we cannot survive.

In the human body, copper serves several roles. Perhaps the most important are our body’s ability to process oxygen, and absorb iron. Both of these functions are of course essential to life.

We only need approximately 3 mg or so per day to remain healthy. Unfortunately, excess copper more than our bodies can normally dispose of can cause a whole host of health problems, and must be avoided.

The most common source of excess copper in humans is likely from copper plumbing.

Copper levels can be measured in the blood and in the hair.

As we discussed recently, excess zinc supplementation will deplete copper, creating a mineral imbalance and the health problems that go with it. So, excess zinc supplementation will cause a copper deficiency.

This can lead to a host of health problems. There is a syndrome called myeloneuropathy in which copper deficiency causes a B12 deficiency like illness, with damage to the nerves and spinal cord.

Likewise, copper deficiency due to excess zinc, either due to supplements or poisonings like denture cream, can lead to the development of neuropathy too.

One of the key functions of copper is maintenance of normal joint and soft tissue proteins. There is no scientific evidence that copper bracelets and copper socks and the like work for arthritis, even though this was once suggested as a possible cure.

Our NeuropathyDR diet is adequate for normal intake of copper because it is high in nuts and seeds. Additional good sources include olives and avocados. Paleo sources include shellfish, beef, and lamb.

Because copper is essential for normal cellular energy and respiration, a deficiency could aggravate many underlying conditions yes including chronic pain and neuropathy.

Now you know more about this pretty metal!

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

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Hydration is Crucial to Feeling Our Best

Maintaining adequate hydration can help you suffer less chronic pain and yes less neuropathy pain too!

Almost invariably when we see a new chronic pain patients in our practice, we discuss health habits and we find that more often than not, failure to drink adequate amount of water is almost universal.

So why is that?

Why would not drinking enough water tend to cause more widespread pains? There are several reasons and the answers are not complicated.

You see the vast majority of our body is made of water. Blood and all the critical fluids keep us functioning like well-oiled machines.

Our kidneys, brain, and all our other vital organs use these fluids to communicate and also perform daily purifications.

Yet most of us don’t pay nearly enough attention to this key fact.

So rather than going through our days drinking fluids, most especially water that will keep our blood and fluid volumes high, we tend to over consume caffeine, or worse yet soft drinks, and perhaps even alcohol which depletes our water reserves even further.

If we don’t drink enough water we can suffer an impaired ability of our vital organs like kidneys and liver that help rid our bodies of toxic wastes. These toxic wastes can make us stiff sore and uncomfortable.

If you already suffer from neuropathy or chronic pain, becoming even slightly dehydrated will make you feel a whole lot worse.

So how much water do you need to drink?

In the absence of kidney or heart disease, the proverbial eight glasses a day is about right.

A more accurate consumption is approximately half your body weight in ounces in a 24-hour period. This is not 100 percent accurate but it’s a darn good approximation.

There are of course other factors which may require more or less water consumption.

This of course includes how much you perspire, the outside air temperature, and yes even the humidity.

So for example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you’d be consuming approximately 100 ounces of water during the course of the daily 24-hour period. That may sound like a lot, but it’s under a gallon in 24 hours.

As always you need to work with your doctors on your own personal medical issues that you may have questions or concerns about.

You may want to ask for the simple blood tests which measure your electrolytes and relative hydration.

Working together maintaining adequate hydration can help you suffer less chronic pain and yes less neuropathy pain too!

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

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Zinc and Your Health

As you know, zinc is a metal. It is used in a process applied to preserve metals from corrosion, especially in salt water. This of course is called galvanization. But what you may not know is that zinc also plays a large role in your health, especially neurologic and immune system-related issues.

Zinc and Your Health

Like so many nutrients, balance is everything. Too much zinc will suppress the immune system and cause difficulties with copper levels. Too little zinc can create problems ranging from memory impairment to prostate disease.

Yes, neurologic dysfunction can result when zinc is deficient. According to Hambridge et al in 2007 in “Zinc deficiency a special challenge”, it is stated that zinc is an element with “profound biologic significance”. In fact, zinc deficiencies worldwide are responsible for many disease states.

Perhaps the most important thing to understand is that zinc imbalances are relatively common. This is due both to low levels in foods of modern agriculture as well as elevated levels of copper due to plumbing and environmental sources.

In the clinic, we will measure hair and blood levels of these crucial elements when assessing nutrition status.

In our bodies, zinc can actually act as an antioxidant. This protects us against damage from environmental assaults, as well as natural aging. The presence of zinc is essential for normal nerve function.

It is well-known that zinc can speed the healing process and, in essential amounts, will help stimulate the immune system and possibly prevent prostate disease.

When zinc is used in shampoos and skin lotions, it can act as a sunscreen, a soothing dressing, and also help prevent dandruff.

The reason that zinc is so important is that it participates in many chemical reactions, especially in enzymes.

The recommended dietary allowance for zinc is around 15 mg per day. However modern diets alone sometimes fall short of this.

The good news is, the neuropathy diet that we recommend is high in nuts and seeds which provide relatively good zinc levels. Seafood, shellfish in particular, can be great sources of dietary zinc.

For most patients, safe zinc supplementation level is probably not more than 25 mg per day. More than 50 mg a day could be detrimental. Like so many nutrients, this is one area where working with your neuropathy healthcare professionals is essential if there are any questions at all about appropriate zinc dosages.

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

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Don’t Fall for Quick Fixes and Miracle Cures

The one most important thing you can do as a neuropathy patient or family member is to do your homework, very carefully! Don’t Fall for Quick Fixes and Miracle Cures.

You know what I’m talking about

You have seen these ads for miracle cures as often as I have. ”Take this one miraculous supplement and your neuropathy will disappear.” Sometimes it’s just, “put this into your shoes and watch the miracles begin.”

Unfortunately, as you well know, neuropathy and most forms of chronic pain (like fibromyalgia and arthritis) need a multi-pronged approach in order for patients to improve—or, whenever possible, recover!

You also understand that quality-of-life is the most important objective for any neuropathy or chronic pain patient.

Now, I’d be the last to want to discount the value of good marketing… just as long as the solutions are ethical and viable.

But I will repeatedly tell you that the one most important thing you can do as a neuropathy patient or family member is to do your homework, very carefully!

This is exactly why at our centers we advocate a multi-pronged approach to treatment. There is no one magic nutrient, therapy, or technique that by itself is going to restore your health immediately.

This is a fact. What is most important, however, is that you keep yourself on track, making incremental—but definite—progress, on a daily basis!

You know I write about this extensively: things such as maintaining a carbohydrate controlled, dairy and gluten-free diet, getting as much physical activity as your condition allows, and really taking the time to understand the impact that a high-sugar and carbohydrate diet has on your health—and how destructive this can be. Understand that sitting for as little as 90 minutes at a time can slow your metabolism dramatically.

All of these things we have written or spoken about on our radio shows and articles during the last 90 days.

Above all, it is critical to be working with healthcare professionals, who are on your side and encourage you to improve your health—not just calm your neuropathy symptoms with medication.

This is what we do all day long—train chronic pain health care professionals to be their very best for you!

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

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Laser Therapy and Neuropathy

It could be that laser therapy is the “missing link” in some forms of neuropathy treatment!

Laser therapy has been used in medicine for many years. They’ve been around since about 1960 or so when a now famous scientist produced these “focused light beams” in the laboratory.

These ultra focused light beams can be used at high intensity to seal tissue and aid surgeons, dentists, and dermatologists in their daily work with patients. At lower intensity, they have had applications in physical therapy and neuropathy treatment for some time too.

Now, lasers are everywhere, everything from CD Players, printers and measuring devices to military weapons. I’m sure you may even have seen a few of your own!

So what does laser have to do with neuropathy treatment?

Well, it could be that laser therapy is the “missing link” in some forms of neuropathy treatment!

As we discuss together frequently, no neuropathy treatment works 100 percent of the time. And that is a key point to remember. We also have talked about effective neuropathy treatment being the result of working only with highly trained neuropathy treatment professionals.

And nowhere is this more apparent than in laser treatments for neuropathy. Even amongst laser neuropathy treatment experts there’s often disagreement as to what makes good neuropathy treatment.

But some techniques in laser neuropathy treatment equipment are looking very promising!

One of our basic attempts when treating neuropathy is to do whatever can help safely and effectively boost your nerve cells use of “energy”.

Along with proper nutrition and electrotherapy, laser may aid energy production in damaged nerves.

The way this may happen is fascinating, but way beyond the scope of this column.

But the good news is more experience and research including our own will help us find even better neuropathy treatments than we have available today!

Always remember though, we go to great lengths every day to be sure our highly trained neuropathy treatment professionals are up to date in the latest, and best forms of neuropathy treatment for you and your family!

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

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Understanding Shotgun Therapy

Patients who become the most proactive in their personalized neuropathy treatment programs always do the best.

Shotgun therapy is a term applied in medicine when multiple therapies that are sometimes not exactly complimentary are presented to patients. Don’t get me wrong; sometimes in health crises this can be lifesaving!

But too often, it is we as patients who are guilty of this.

A big example of shotgun therapy is the widespread usage of over the counter cold and pain medications. This has long been a concern of pharmacists and healthcare professionals alike.

Due to a wide degree of variability in patient responses, there are many OTC drug and dietary supplement combinations out there that are probably not beneficial.

Too often herbal based dietary supplements, yes even sometimes those prescribed for neuropathy patients, fall into this category. Far too many of these “neuropathy” treatment formulas have multiple ingredients that can interact in unknown ways.

And unbeknownst to you as a patient, this shotgun therapy approach may actually be more harmful and not helpful.

As I’m sure you are aware, peripheral neuropathy can be a very frustrating condition to treat.

But one of the most frustrating things for both doctors and patients alike is where no clear neuropathy treatment plan is identified.

Every therapy and every medication you take must be part of an overall neuropathy treatment strategy. Even if that strategy is a trial to see what works best for you!

This is why those patients who become the most proactive in their personalized neuropathy treatment programs always do the best.

So as frustrating as it may be at times, I encourage you to learn as much about your underlying condition and neuropathy treatment options as possible, but do your best to avoid shotgun therapy.

Even if it’s not 100% clear on what the underlying cause of your peripheral neuropathy is, the good news is proven strategies now exist for effectively treating many forms of peripheral neuropathy.

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

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Good Habits Are Powerful Neuropathy Treatment Weapons

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

What does your daily routine consist of?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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