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

 

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.

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.