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.