Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy from Chemotherapy: What Can You Do?

Chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) can severely impact your quality of life.

Living with chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy, also known as CIPN, can be a significant quality of life issue. Nerve damage from chemo drugs can lead to tingling, pain, numbness, and loss of agility or balance. You might be more sensitive to extreme differences of temperature. You might also be bothered by certain kinds of pressure on the affected area.

You might even be unable to do simple tasks like writing a grocery list or buttoning up a shirt.

What can you do about peripheral neuropathy that stems from chemotherapy? Your oncologist or other medical team members may be able to prescribe medications to aid with neuropathy or even adjust your chemo dose in an effort to reduce side effects. There are also many things you can do in your everyday routine to minimize these effects.

Get to know your symptoms. Identify what makes your neuropathy symptoms worse, and avoid those things whenever possible. For example, if ill-fitting shoes seem to trigger neuropathic pain in your feet, make comfortable shoes a priority.

Avoid drinking alcohol, which can intensify peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

For foot neuropathy, stay off your feet as much as possible. Take good care of your feet and inspect them every day for blisters and other injuries that could turn into infection.

If neuropathy symptoms are in your hands, be sure to keep your hands protected with gloves when washing dishes or doing repair work.

But there is one more thing, perhaps the most important thing you can do to reduce pain and discomfort from chemo induced peripheral neuropathy: Do your own research and insist that your doctors be at least as well-read as you. Neuropathy treatment is a joint effort between you and your medical team.

For more information about dealing with chemo induced neuropathy, check out our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

 

Be Your Own Neuropathy Self Advocate

Neuropathy Patients Must Be Powerful Self Advocates

As a neuropathy patient, you need to be the most powerful member of your medical team. Here’s how to do it.

Your neuropathy treatment team is well trained and highly educated. But they are not the true experts on your neuropathy.

The only real expert on YOUR neuropathy is you.

You’re the one who is there 24/7 experiencing neuropathic pain and physical limitations. You live in your body, and you know what’s normal for you.

The only way to get effective neuropathy care is to be a powerful self advocate. You are the most important member of your treatment team. They simply can’t get the job done without your vital input!

What does this mean?

Here is how you can advocate for yourself in your neuropathy treatment.

  1. Provide detailed, up to date information about your symptoms. Keep a daily log so that you can track frequency and severity. Be honest and don’t leave anything out.
  2. Tell your doctor about all medications and supplements you are taking, including vitamins and herbs, as well as over the counter medications such as ibuprofen or allergy medications.
  3. Be honest about your history and current use of alcohol, tobacco products, caffeine, and other drugs that can affect your symptoms and interact with prescription medications.
  4. Read what is out there about neuropathy treatment. Ask questions about whether the techniques you’ve read about are appropriate for your care.
  5. Share your worries and concerns. If the doctor seems to brush them off, state them again and make sure he or she understands what you mean. Ask WHY that particular symptom or occurrence is not significant in your doctor’s eyes.
  6. Write down everything that your doctor says during the visit. If that is difficult for you, bring a tape recorder or a family member / friend who can take notes.
  7. If you still have unanswered questions at the end of your visit, ask the doctor for more time or request another professional (such as a nurse practitioner) to come in and talk more with you.

If you feel that your current medical team is not addressing your needs, look for a doctor in your area who has specific training in neuropathy issues. Click here for a list of NeuropathyDR™ specialists.

 

Neuropathy Diet for Chemotherapy Side Effects

Neuropathy Diet for Cancer Treatment? What to Eat for Effective Immune Support

Find the ideal diet to help you combat neuropathy and other chemotherapy side effects to promote healing.

Peripheral neuropathy is an unfortunate side effect of some chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment. Other side effects you might experience as a chemo patient include nausea, dry mouth, and lack of appetite. The good news is that by adjusting your diet to include several key nutrients, you can help to minimize these side effects and support your body’s natural efforts at healing.

The first consideration for chemo patients with neuropathy and other side effects is to strengthen your immune system as much as possible, with a focus on foods that are gentle to your digestion at this time.

First, make sure you are getting enough protein, an essential component of a healing diet. You’ll also need lots of antioxidants, particularly vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Other good nutrients for neuropathy and other cancer side effects include calcium, amino acids, l-glutamine, carotenoids, folic acid, and soy isoflavones.

Staying hydrated is especially important, even if you are feeling nauseated. Consider juicing as a way to get all these healing nutrients without demanding much from your digestive system.

Any nutritionist will tell you that regardless of your weight struggles prior to a cancer diagnosis, now is not the time to worry about losing weight or even maintaining a goal weight. You need lots of calories right now to keep your energy up and promote healing.

If you’ve lost your appetite due to chemo side effects, it may seem impossible to keep the calories coming. But there is something you can do to combat this problem. Adding herbs and spices to your food will make it more appealing to you, with a bonus effect of providing healing properties. Look for ways to add these spices and herbs to your meals whenever possible:

  • Garlic, which is a natural antibiotic
  • Basil, parsley, and mint
  • Coriander, cinnamon, and cardamom
  • Cumin and turmeric
  • Ginger, which is a natural anti-inflammatory

What’s the best way to design a chemotherapy diet to aid with neuropathy and other chemo side effects? Talk with your NeuropathyDR™ clinician about a diet that addresses your side effects and nutritional needs for healing. He or she can help you create a meal plan that addresses both short-term side effects and long-term recovery from cancer. Click here to find a NeuropathyDR™ expert near you.

 

New Neuropathy Diagnosis

Just Diagnosed? The Next Step After Your Neuropathy Diagnosis

A Neuropathy Diagnosis Can Be Frightening and Confusing. Here’s What To Do Next.

Finding out about your neuropathy diagnosis can be a confusing and even frightening time. You may be feeling overwhelmed with information and choices. Or you may be uncertain whether you are correctly understanding what your doctor has said.

Often, newly diagnosed neuropathy patients have been living with increasingly painful symptoms for a while. It may be stunning to discover that nerve damage is responsible for those symptoms.

You may also be adjusting to the diagnosis or treatment of a systemic condition that has led to neuropathy symptoms, such as lupus, cancer, or diabetes.

It’s a lot to get used to, and it may be hard to know what you should do next.

Let me share some of the most basic steps that should happen right after a neuropathy diagnosis.

The immediate step is to address any acute symptom flare-ups that may be happening. That may mean being hospitalized to get control of an episode related to an autoimmune disease or diabetic crisis. Or it may mean seeking appropriate medication to reduce inflammation or pain.

When this immediate crisis has settled, the next step for you is to address your daily health habits that can positively or negative affect the long-term outcome of your neuropathy diagnosis. If you are more than 20 pounds overweight, work with your doctor on a plan to drop those extra pounds in a safe way. Reduce or remove sugar and processed foods from your diet. Stop smoking as quickly as possible.

You can also take other steps such as filtering the water in your home, using only “green” cleaning agents, and building moderate exercise into your daily routine.

Perhaps the most important step is to identify a trained neuropathy doctor in your area who can provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive treatment plan for your neuropathy diagnosis. Click here to find a NeuropathyDR® specialist near you.

 

Diabetic Neuropathy and Chiropractic Care

Diabetic Neuropathy and Good Chiropractic Care

In Diabetic Neuropathy, Chiropractic Care Can Reduce Symptoms and Improve Quality of Life.

Some kinds of neuropathy happen to people with diabetes, a severe imbalance in blood sugar levels which can block proper blood flow to the nerves.

With diabetes, you might also have some of these diabetic neuropathy symptoms:

  • Loss of ability to feel warm or cold sensations
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Problems controlling your bladder
  • Digestive trouble, like vomiting or nausea and diarrhea
  • Feelings of burning, tingling, or numbness in your feet or hands
  • General muscle weakness

Some of these symptoms, specifically numbness in the hands and feet, can lead to some of the most dangerous complications of diabetes: infection, slow healing, and the possible need amputation as a lifesaving measure.

With this diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy, you may already have been directed to monitor your blood sugar level, avoid certain foods in your diet, and possibly take prescription medications to manage your symptoms. You’ll also be asked to notice and report any sores, blisters, or inflamed areas that could lead to infection in order to intervene quickly to head off serious complications.

This is a great start and an important baseline of health for people with diabetic neuropathy. But for many, it isn’t enough for true symptom relief and quality of life.

In this case, consider looking into chiropractic care by a NeuropathyDR® specialist, who can address any issues you have with spinal alignment that may be negatively affecting your pancreas and other internal organs—not to mention your nervous system.

The two goals of chiropractic care in people with diabetic neuropathy are reducing your pain and beginning to help your nerves repair themselves. In addition to manually manipulating your joints and bones for proper alignment, chiropractic care may involve the use of topical pain relieving medications and various types of nerve stimulation.

If you are looking for a NeuropathyDR® specialist in your area, click here.

STD & Neuropathy

Let’s be honest, STD & Neuropathy are difficult to talk about.

Ignorance is NOT bliss, in fact it’s dangerous!

•     HIV/AIDS

•     Genital Herpes (or any one of the large number of herpes-simplex viruses)

•     Gonorrhea

•     Syphilis

•     Chlamydia

•     Hepatitis B and D

•     HPV (Human papillomavirus infection)

Yes, we said one or more.

Because of the way sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) are spread, it’s not uncommon to be infected with more than one STD through a single encounter.  For example, about half of the people who are infected in a single sexual encounter with Chlamydia are also infected with gonorrhea at the same time.

If you’ve been diagnosed with an STD and you’re now experiencing

•     Extreme fatigue

•     Headaches

•     Painful, swollen joints

•     Swelling in your feet, legs or hands

•     Pleurisy

You may have yet another symptom from your STD to worry about – any of these diseases can cause peripheral neuropathy.

If it does, the pain, swelling or even loss of sensation won’t go away on its own.  And more than just causing pain, it can be deadly if the wrong nerves are affected.

How Does A Sexually Transmitted Disease Cause Peripheral Neuropathy?

Many of these STD are caused by viruses or bacteria.  Viruses and bacteria can attack nerve tissue and severely damage sensory nerves. If those nerves are damaged, you’re going to feel the pain, quickly.

The virus that causes HIV, in particular, can cause extensive damage to the peripheral nerves.  Often, the progression of the disease can actually be tracked according to the specific type of neuropathy the patient develops.  Painful polyneuropathy affecting the feet and hands can be one of first clinical signs of HIV infection.

Any of these viral or bacterial disorders can cause indirect nerve damage.  Those damaged nerves lead to peripheral neuropathy.

Exactly What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?

 

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition that develops when the peripheral nervous system is damaged by a condition like diabetes, cancer or a sexually transmitted disease.  When these nerves are damaged, they no longer communicate properly and all the bodily functions they govern are disrupted.

Depending upon which nerves are damaged and the functions they serve, you can develop serious or even life threatening symptoms.

 

Why Should You Worry About Peripheral Neuropathy?

 

After all, you’ve already received a devastating diagnosis when you found out you had a sexually transmitted disease.  Aside from the physical discomfort, as a responsible partner you have to alter how you handle the most intimate aspect of your life.

But you should worry about peripheral neuropathy because you could develop serious problems.

If your peripheral neuropathy affects the autonomic nervous system, you could develop

•     Blood pressure problems

•     Heart rate issues

•     Bladder or bowel control issues

•     Difficulty swallowing because your esophagus doesn’t function properly

•     Bloating

•     Heart burn

•     Inability to feel sensation in your hands and feet

Beyond being uncomfortable, any of these conditions can cause serious health issues; some can even be fatal.

 

How Can You Protect Yourself?

 

If you suspect you have a sexually transmitted disease, get medical treatment immediately.  If you’re sexually active and have more than one partner, you might want to be tested even if you don’t have any of the common STD symptoms.  Often patients, especially women, are infected and have no symptoms.  Getting tested and finding out early on if you’re infected will make it less likely that you’ll develop peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage.

If you know you have a sexually transmitted disease and you’ve developed any of the peripheral neuropathy symptoms we mentioned earlier, one of the smartest things you can do for yourself to head off potential problems is to consult a specialist who treats neuropathy and will recognize problems quickly and act to resolve them.  A great place to start is with your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.  Your NeuropathyDR® specialist follows a very specific protocol specifically designed to minimize nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy.

Contact us today for information on the best course of treatment to make sure that once your sexually transmitted disease is cured or under control, you won’t carry the burden of nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy.

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

 


The Dangers of Self-Diagnosis and Treatment


Ever heard the phrase “The man who represents himself has a fool for a client?”

Well, in health care, the same goes for “self-diagnosis”.

While that old adage is applied to the legal profession, the same can be said about patients who attempt to diagnose and treat their own illnesses and injuries. Especially when their symptoms indicate they’re dealing with something that could be serious.

The internet has made it easy for us to research our own health issues and become educated patients (which, mind you, is a very good thing), but it has also made it easy to misdiagnose and inaccurately treat those medical conditions.

That may not be dangerous with a common cold, but if you have (or think you have):

–           Shingles

–           Diabetic neuropathy

–           Post-chemotherapy neuropathy

–           Guillian-Barre Syndrome

–           Peripheral neuropathy

You could be doing your body irreparable harm by not consulting a specialist, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician, for proper diagnosis and treatment. By researching and treating on your own, you’re wasting valuable time and when you’re dealing with neuropathy or any condition that involves nerve damage, you don’t have time to waste.

The delay in obtaining medical treatment could make a small problem much, much worse.  Once that window for early treatment is gone, you can never get it back.  Treating on your own is an excellent example of being penny wise and pound foolish.

Here are just a few of the things that can happen when you diagnose and treat on your own[1]:

–           You could be wrong about the diagnosis and taking medications that you don’t need.     That not only means that you’re not “curing” yourself, you could be making matters  worse.

–          You could be right about the diagnosis but taking the wrong medications.

–          You could be right about the diagnosis but need prescription medication in the appropriate strength to address your symptoms.

–          You could be putting yourself at risk for serious drug interactions with other medicines you’re taking (especially if you’re taking over the counter medicines without medical supervision).

–          You could be fixing one problem with over the counter medications but making another problem worse or even creating a new problem.

–          You could be missing the root cause of the problem – particularly in cases of neuropathy when you don’t have access to x-rays to determine if subluxation or joint misalignments are causing or contributing to your problem.

–          Finally, you could be putting yourself at risk for serious nerve damage.  There is no way you can determine if your nerves have been compromised without proper diagnostic testing.

By contacting your health care provider or your local NeuropathyDR® clinician, you can be appropriately tested.  Once you know exactly what condition your condition is and the extent of your nerve damage, if any, you can begin an effective course of treatment.  The sooner the better to lessen the chance of permanent nerve damage.

You Need to Seek Professional Care

Treating on your own is a classic example of being penny wise and pound foolish[2].  You may save a little money up front but it’s going to cost you more in the long run when your health care provider has to play catch up and try to fix the harm done by delaying proper treatment.

If you have symptoms of any of the illnesses we talked about above (especially diabetes), it is vital that you seek professional medical care.

We recommend treatment with a NeuropathyDR® clinician.  They have training in a very specific treatment protocol designed to treat patients with peripheral neuropathy and the many conditions that cause it.

If you choose treatment with a NeuropathyDR® clinician, he or she will evaluate your spine and the skeletal system paying particular attention to the area where you’re experiencing pain.  You cannot do that type of evaluation on your own.

If you are suffering from peripheral neuropathy as a result of shingles, chemotherapy, metabolic syndrome, or even diabetes, your nerves are probably being affected by misalignments too.  The benefit of treating with a NeuropathyDR® clinician is that they can give you an adjustment to realign the skeletal system so that your nerves are not being adversely affected.  That will not only help alleviate your pain and other neuropathy symptoms, it will decrease the chance of long term nerve damage leading to peripheral neuropathy.

In addition to a chiropractic and/or physical therapy to realign the spine and support proper functioning of your nervous system, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will advise you on proper nutrition and a diet plan to give your body what it needs to heal.

Early treatment provided by a specialist familiar with peripheral neuropathy will make it much easier for your body to repair itself and lessen your chance of developing permanent nerve damage as a result of peripheral neuropathy.

Before you try to diagnose and treat yourself, we hope you’ll consider the potential harm you could doing to your body.  And make the right choice – seek professional diagnosis and treatment.  Time is of the essence in repairing and protection your nerves.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neuropathy Foot Care

Neuropathy Foot Care

Neuropathy Foot Care is Essential for Maintaining Your Health

It’s true that we should all probably be wearing more comfortable shoes. Our culture tends to favor types of shoes that are more suited for fashion than comfort—high heels or stiff dress shoes, pull-on flats with no arch support, or backless flip-flops.

In most people, these kinds of shoes can sometimes cause problems ranging from back pain to painful calluses.

But if you have neuropathy, footwear choices become much more than a fashion statement. Neuropathy foot comfort and health can play a big role in overall wellness and maintaining good health overall.

I would say that in particular, for people with diabetic neuropathy, foot self care is one of the most important aspects of self care along with diet to maintain blood sugar.

Anyone with peripheral neuropathy may also experience other debilitating foot-related issues, such as plantar fasciitis.

So, what are the basics of neuropathy foot care?

Comfortable shoes are the first step. This begins with having your feet measured at a shoe store to make sure you are buying the right size shoes for your feet. It’s common for the shape and/or size of feet to change slightly with age. For people with peripheral neuropathy, foot changes can be due to swelling or changes in the muscles.

Be sure to measure both feet! Many people have feet that are slightly different sizes, and you’ll need to buy shoes according to the size of your larger foot.

Before you buy new footwear, consult with your neuropathy clinician about the right kind of shoes for neuropathy foot care. He or she may recommend diabetic footwear, which can hold custom inserts.

Even if your doctor tells you that you can wear regular shoes, I would strongly urge you to stay away from problematic shoes (from high heels to flip-flops) and choose to wear shock-absorbing running shoes the majority of the time.

Proper neuropathy foot care is just one of the aspects of good health for people with neuropathy. Learn more by reading our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

 

Vitamin C for Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic Pain and Vitamin C

Do You Need Vitamin C Supplementation to Help Treat Your Neuropathic Pain?

Vitamin C is most famous for its role in reducing the time it takes to recover from a cold or other infections. This key nutrient boosts the immune system through its role in cell repair and replication of new cells.

But there’s more to it than that. Vitamin C is important for many body systems. For example, skin and ligament tissues are bound together by collagen, and vitamin C is needed in order for tissue repair to occur. This vitamin also helps the body to process toxins.

You might think of vitamin C as being a fairly innocuous substance. In fact, you might assume that more is better when it comes to vitamin C and treating neuropathic pain.

The fact is, it may not be a good idea for anyone with neuropathic pain to take more than 2,000 mg daily, or to take large amounts of vitamin C in a short period of time. As with any new supplement, it’s important to talk with your doctor or medical treatment team about how to best include vitamin C in your treatment regimen.

And here’s the best news… if you are faithfully following the NeuropathyDR® diet to combat neuropathic pain, it’s highly unlikely that you would be vitamin C deficient. You’ll be eating a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits that tend to contain a high amount of vitamin C. If this is the case, you may not even need to supplement vitamin C to reach optimum levels.

Again, I have to emphasize the vital importance of combining self-care and lifestyle changes alongside any treatments recommended by your neuropathic pain medical team.

Are you treating your neuropathic pain in collaboration with a trained expert in the NeuropathyDR® method? Find an expert near you.

 

Yoga for Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy and CAM Therapies

Some CAM Therapies May Help with Peripheral Neuropathy Related to Chemo Treatment.

The most well-known side effects of chemotherapy treatments are hair loss and nausea. But the general public typically is not aware of one of the most debilitating side effects of chemo, which is peripheral neuropathy.

This side effect of chemo can range from numbness to tingling and burning to shooting pains in the feet or hands. In some people, the discomfort is so intense that it causes sleep disturbances.

Unfortunately, chemo-related peripheral neuropathy doesn’t always go away after treatment ends. The symptoms can linger for months or years.

Your oncologist may have prescribed medications intended to reduce your peripheral neuropathy symptoms. But you should be aware that some types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies can also be very effective for some people with chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy.

CAM therapies are sometimes called “alternative” treatments. In reality, they are intended to be used alongside conventional medical treatment (rather than in place of it). Sometimes this is called “integrative” therapies. More and more studies are demonstrating that these types of therapies can lead to good outcomes for people with peripheral neuropathy and other cancer treatment side effects.

Here are just a few of the CAM therapies that are continuing to be explored in the medical community as a way to reduce pain and discomfort from chemo side effects, including peripheral neuropathy:

  • Acupuncture
  • Reflexology
  • Art therapy and music therapy
  • Vitamin supplements, such as vitamins B12 and B6
  • Massage therapy
  • Yoga therapy
  • Homeopathy

Ask your oncologist or other physician about the availability of these CAM therapies in your area and which CAM treatment may be right for you. These therapies can be so effective because they address both physical symptoms and stress reduction.

Remember, you are the most important part of your medical team. Knowing what complementary therapies could help your peripheral neuropathy is the first step to advocating for your own wellness.

For more information about complementary ways to treat chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, see our neuropathy owners manual.

 

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic Neuropathy: Advice for the Newly Diagnosed

If You Have Just Been Diagnosed with Diabetic Neuropathy, It’s Important to Seek Expert Treatment Right Away. Here’s Why.

In short, the term “diabetic neuropathy” refers to peripheral neuropathy symptoms in people who have the chronic illness known as diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy happens when your blood sugar becomes elevated and there is not enough blood flowing to your body’s nerve centers.

This leads to neuropathic pain symptoms, such as numbness, insensitivity to hot or cold, weakness or cramping of muscles, or burning/tingling in extremities. You may also experience problems with bladder control, nausea, or diarrhea.

Unfortunately, diabetic neuropathy has severe long-term health consequences. The longer you postpone treatment, the higher the chance of irreversible nerve damage and lifelong symptoms that hinder your quality of life.

On the other hand, seeking immediate help from a trained neuropathy specialist is likely to allow you to reduce your neuropathy symptoms right away and prevent serious health problems.

Your neuropathy treatment specialist will collaborate with you to create a treatment plan. The immediate focus will be getting your diabetes in control to avoid additional nerve damage.

Along with any prescribed medications to maintain blood sugar levels, you will be asked to follow a neuropathy diet for controlling diabetes. Typically, this diet eliminates processed foods and refined sugars while focusing on lean proteins, fiber, and lots of fresh vegetables.

Your diabetic neuropathy treatment plan may also include therapies to reduce your neuropathic pain symptoms and aid your nervous system in self-repair. Your neuropathy treatment specialist may recommend specific types of manual therapies, such as chiropractic or physical therapy, or certain technologies like laser light therapy or nerve stimulation devices.

A neuropathy treatment plan could include the addition of oral or topical nutrients to aid in healing. Many neuropathy treatment specialists will recommend a custom blend of nutrients for your specific health challenges.

To find a diabetic neuropathy treatment specialist in your area, click here.

 

Infectious Disease Can Be The Start of Neuropathy Problems

If you have lupus, Lyme Disease, Varicella Zoster (aka Shingles), HIV/AIDS, or even Legionnaire’s Disease, you’re probably dealing with some combination of

•     Extreme fatigue

•     Headaches

•     Painful, swollen joints

•     Anemia

•     Fever and chills

•     Swelling in your feet, legs or hands

•     Pleurisy

•     Rashes

•     Hair loss

These are all symptoms we’re familiar with when we hear about these infections.

But what you may not realize is that any of these diseases can cause peripheral neuropathy.

If it does, the pain, swelling or even loss of sensation won’t go away on its own.  And more than just causing pain, it can be deadly if the wrong nerves are affected.

How Can An Infectious Disease Cause Peripheral Neuropathy?

 

Excellent question.

Many of these infectious diseases are caused by viruses or bacteria.  Viruses and bacteria can attack nerve tissue and severely damage sensory nerves. If those nerves are damaged, you’re going to feel the pain, quickly.

The virus that causes HIV, in particular, can cause extensive damage to the peripheral nerves.  Often, the progression of the disease can actually be tracked according to the specific type of neuropathy the patient develops.  Painful polyneuropathy affecting the feet and hands can be one of first clinical signs of HIV infection.

Any of these viral or bacterial disorders can cause indirect nerve damage and bring on conditions that we refer to as autoimmune disorders.  Autoimmune disorders cause the body’s immune system to go on the offensive and attack its own tissues.  These assaults by the body on the body damage the nerve’s protective covering.  Think of it as “internal friendly fire” – misdirected but potentially serious.

Aside From Discomfort, What Other Problems Could I Have?

 

You could have serious problems.

If your peripheral neuropathy affects the autonomic nervous system, you could develop

•     Blood pressure problems

•     Heart rate issues

•     Bladder or bowel control issues

•     Difficulty swallowing because your esophagus doesn’t function properly

•     Bloating

•     Heart burn

•     Inability to feel sensation in your hands and feet

Beyond being uncomfortable, any of these conditions can cause serious health issues; some can even be fatal.

 

How Can You Protect Yourself?

 

If you suspect you have any of these diseases, get medical treatment immediately.  The earlier you start treatment, the less likely you’ll be to develop peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage.

One of the smartest things you can do for yourself to head off potential problems is to consult a specialist who treats neuropathy and will recognize problems quickly and act to resolve them.  A great place to start is with your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.  Your NeuropathyDR® specialist follows a very specific protocol specifically designed to minimize nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy.

In addition to the NeuropathyDR® protocol and specific drug therapies designed for your particular condition, there are a few things you can do to help:

•     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 limit your exposure to the sun

•     If you smoke, stop

•     Eat a healthy, well balanced diet

•     If you’re a woman, pay particular attention to birth control issues.  Any of these infectious diseases can cause serious problems during pregnancy.

Your NeuropathyDR® clinician or other healthcare provider can work with you to design a diet and exercise plan that will help you fight back against these infectious diseases and the long term problems they can cause.

Contact us today for information on the best course of treatment to make sure that once your infectious disease is cured or under control, you won’t carry the burden of nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy.

 

 


New Neuropathy Diagnosis

Peripheral Neuropathy and Lyme Disease

Could Your Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms Be Related to Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a significant problem in some areas of the U.S., especially those with a lot of densely wooded areas. Unfortunately, many doctors these days are not up to date on their knowledge of this disease enough to accurately diagnose it.

In part, that’s because Lyme disease can be complicated in how it presents itself. Sometimes it can cause arthritis or a variety of neuropathic pain symptoms. It’s so important to be able to distinguish between peripheral neuropathy and Lyme disease.

Patients with Lyme disease leading to neurological damage can sometimes experience symptoms like burning, numbness, or tingling. Lyme disease can even lead to a type of nerve paralysis in the face called Bell’s palsy.

We don’t know exactly why Lyme disease can cause these types of peripheral neuropathy symptoms. But what is known about Lyme disease based on more recent case histories is that it can be chronic. A typical dosage of a month’s worth of antibiotics may not be enough to prevent or reduce neurological symptoms from occurring.

One of the classically recognizable symptoms of Lyme disease is a bulls-eye shaped rash stemming from the site of a tick bite.

But, according to Columbia University Medical Center, about 18 percent of Lyme disease cases don’t feature the classic symptoms. If you don’t have the textbook symptoms of Lyme disease, including a bulls-eye rash and a known tick bite, you may not be given an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes Lyme disease simply mimics the flu, with fatigue and fever along with headache.

An early accurate diagnosis of Lyme disease is vital in order to prevent the development of peripheral neuropathy symptoms and/or symptoms of arthritis.

As always, if you are having peripheral neuropathy symptoms, I urge you to seek an experienced and highly trained neuropathy clinician who can make a differential diagnosis and help you reduce symptoms as quickly as possible. Click here to locate a NeuropathyDR® clinician near you.

 

Neuropathy Treatment Decisions

Neuropathy Treatment Decisions: Should You Take Medications for Neuropathy?

The Most Comprehensive and Effective Neuropathy Treatment Approach Goes Beyond Medicating Symptoms and Treats the Root Cause.

There is so much more to effective neuropathy treatment than masking symptoms with medications.

Unfortunately, you would hardly know that’s the case, given how the majority of doctors still approach neuropathy treatment. The truth is that relying on the expertise of a doctor who isn’t specifically trained in neuropathy treatment could end up making your neuropathy symptoms worse, not better.

That’s because so many of the drugs that doctors tend to prescribe for neuropathy symptoms like tingling, numbness, and nerve pain have side effects, some of which will intensify over time.

This “one drug fits all” approach often stems from a lack of understanding about the root cause of neuropathy symptoms.

So-called idiopathic neuropathy, for which there is no known cause, may actually be developed over time due to metabolic syndrome—formerly known as pre-diabetes—a condition that will not be addressed at all by traditional symptom-focused drug therapies for neuropathy.

Or worse, if a doctor ignores the neuropathy and attempts to treat metabolic syndrome using medications for lowering cholesterol or blood pressure, your neuropathy symptoms are likely to get worse in reaction to these drugs.

The most effective approach to neuropathy treatment is a multi-modal approach that begins with substantial lifestyle changes and complementary therapies to support your body’s own natural healing process. Work with a trained neuropathy expert on a treatment plan that includes safe weight loss, a healthy neuropathy diet with no sugars or processed foods, and regular moderate exercise.

When you take the wheel of your own neuropathy treatment plan and consult with an expert trained in the best that neuropathy treatment has to offer, your quality of life will improve for the better.

There is a place for prescription medications. But I truly believe that a comprehensive neuropathy treatment approach that goes beyond drugs and puts YOU in the driver’s seat is the best way to begin healing from neuropathic pain.

Click here to find a neuropathy treatment expert near you.

 

Dairy and Your Neuropathy Diet

Your Neuropathy Diet: The Hard Truth About Dairy

You Won’t Hear This Advice From Many Doctors, But This One Factor Can Change the Effectiveness of Your Neuropathy Diet.

The consumption of dairy products has always been a highly charged topic in nutrition. On the one hand, there is a sizable lobby advocating for the U.S. dairy industry. On the other hand, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that regular consumption of dairy products is a pretty bad idea for human beings.

In short, if you are wrestling with whether to include milk and other dairy products in your neuropathy diet, any contemplation of this question leads to a straightforward conclusion.

More than half of the human population has trouble digesting milk, leading to digestion problems, allergic reactions, and eventually elevated levels of “bad fats” in your body. What’s worse, there is a hormonal growth factor contained in most dairy products that is known to instigate several different types of cancer, including prostate and breast cancer. One specific kind of milk sugar called galactose is linked to ovarian cancer.

And the regular consumption of dairy is additionally linked to the likelihood of developing type 1 diabetes, which is a major risk factor for neuropathic pain.

All of this means that a neuropathy diet that eliminates dairy (as well as gluten) is one of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation and pain associated with neuropathy and chronic pain.

It’s best to make a gradual shift in your diet so that the changes you instill can be permanent. There are many dairy alternatives out there, including products made from coconut, rice, and almonds. Just watch out for any added sugar or thickening agents like carrageenan.

As always, I urge you to become your own best health advocate. Do your research and seek out a doctor who has the background to prescribe an effective neuropathy diet.

Need to find a neuropathy doctor near you?

 

Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetic Neuropathy

The Connection Between Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetic Neuropathy

What Do You Need to Know About Diabetic Neuropathy and Metabolic Syndrome?

Years ago, we called it pre-diabetes. Lately, the common term is Syndrome X. No matter what name we give it, metabolic syndrome is a potentially devastating diagnosis.

I would go so far as to say that metabolic syndrome is the number one most dangerous medical condition challenging our society today.

That’s because so many people start to take care of themselves in terms of diet, exercise, and other self care only AFTER they have been diagnosed with diabetes or diabetic neuropathy. And by then, for so many of those people, it’s almost too late to matter.

Metabolic syndrome lies hidden for years, causing damage to multiple major body systems. At our clinics, we see so many patients with diabetic neuropathy and chronic pain related to metabolic syndrome.

Typically, metabolic syndrome tends to show up as a collection of subtle symptoms many years before a diabetes diagnosis. People with metabolic syndrome will notice a weight increase and thickening of the waist, along with small changes in their blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

The first thing you can do to protect yourself from the ravages of metabolic syndrome is to accept that a 20+ pound weight gain and spreading waistline is not a normal part of aging, and in fact can lead to very dangerous health complications. Being overweight is a risk factor for peripheral neuropathy in addition to other conditions, like heart disease.

Your next line of defense is to begin working with a medical specialist who is well trained in diagnosing metabolic syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, and other disorders. Remember that only you can be an effective health advocate for yourself.

Finally, ask your doctor about lifestyle changes that can have a significant positive impact on your health related to metabolic syndrome and diabetic neuropathy.

Get your copy of our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

 

Build your support network for better coping with chronic pain.

Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is SO Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need)

Don’t go it alone. Here’s why accepting support from family and friends is so important in treating chronic pain.Build your support network for better coping with chronic pain.

 

Although it may be a shocking idea, your personal support network may be equally as important to your health as your medical treatment team—or any kind of supplemental therapies.

Why? Because the bottom line is that a positive outlook is the best medicine for good health outcomes. If you are feeling contented and supported in your personal relationships, you’ll be much better equipped to cope with pain when it arises.

Unfortunately, many people find it hard to ask for help from their family and friends. We may have heard the message that it was weak or shameful to be dependent on others.

The truth is that when we are able to accept love and support, we’re better equipped to be as independent as possible in our daily lives.

Make a list of people in your life who have helped you in big and small ways in the past, as well as people that would probably be willing to help now if you were to ask.

Now, think about the things that are making your life the most difficult or stressful right now. This list could be anything from a leaky faucet in your kitchen to a pile of medical bills. Just get it all down on paper.

Finally, begin matching the list of stress points with the list of helpers in your life. Who could come over and fix that leaky faucet for you? Who could help you make phone calls to arrange a payment plan for those bills?

You will find that most of the people on your list are grateful for a chance to help you—they just didn’t know what to do that would be truly helpful. And when your stress level decreases (now that the leaky faucet or pile of bills is a thing of the past), your overall health will be optimized. That means chronic pain becomes less of a burden because you’re better able to cope with it.

Building your support network is just one way that you can take control of your own health and overcome chronic pain. Learn more by visiting our Facebook page.

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.


Neuropathy Diet for Chemotherapy Side Effects

Neuropathy Diet and Nutrition: How to Get Started

You Know That A Healthy Neuropathy Diet Can Make All the Difference in Your Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy. But Do You Know How to Implement This Change in the Best Way?

If you’re been reading for a while, you know that we discuss a healthy neuropathy diet as one of the primary ways to improve your health immediately and over time.

Unfortunately, many neuropathy patients struggle with this lifestyle change. When you are accustomed to processed foods, which typically contain lots of salt and sugar, learning to enjoy leafy green vegetables and other staples of the neuropathy diet can be a challenge.

But it’s well worth it. You’ll begin feeling better overall within a matter of days, and a neuropathy diet offers control over your symptoms which can have both physical and emotional impacts.

So many of the neuropathy patients we see in our clinics are suffering from chronic GI problems—irritable bowel, ulcers, and so on. Those things complicate neuropathic pain and certainly detract from quality of life. They can be precipitated by stress, but often a very poor diet is also to blame.

Here’s why we advocate whole foods for a neuropathy diet. Whole foods simply contain more things that your body needs to heal from neuropathy: vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and water.

Ideally, your neuropathy diet will contain local fresh farmer’s market produce whenever possible. You’ll also want to learn how to flavor and season your food primarily with spices rather than salt.

As with any significant change in your health regimen, talk with your neuropathy specialist about how to begin incorporating a healthy neuropathy diet into your lifestyle in a gradual way.

Looking for a neuropathy specialist who is highly trained in all aspects of treating and managing neuropathy, including a healthy neuropathy diet? Click here to find a neuropathy expert near you.

Vitamin C for Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathy Supplements: What You Need to Know About Biotin

Many People Don’t Know About Vitamin B7, One of the Important Neuropathy Supplements.

If you’ve heard about the B vitamin known as biotin, you might have only seen references to it in terms of cosmetics. Recently there’s been a surge of beauty products that include biotin as an ingredient, supposedly to strengthen or enhance nails, skin, and hair.

The truth is, using personal products with added biotin probably will not have any impact on your hair or make your nails stronger. There’s very little hard evidence of this.

And in the general population, most people don’t have a biotin deficiency, because it’s generated by our normal gut bacteria. (The exception is when someone is taking long-term antibiotics, which can harm those intestinal bacteria and lead to low biotin levels.)

But in terms of neuropathy supplements, biotin or vitamin B7 can be a powerhouse. Here’s what neuropathy patients and especially those struggling with diabetes need to know about supplementing with biotin.
If you have a genuine deficiency in biotin, similar to the other B vitamins, you might be experiencing symptoms like fatigue, skin rashes, depression, and peripheral neuropathy.

Diabetics may have a higher than average need for supplementing with biotin. Neuropathy supplements like biotin can aid in regulating blood sugar and lipids for diabetics.

Biotin is naturally present in a broad range of foods, although the amount of biotin in a single serving tends to be very small. The key to getting enough biotin in your diet without supplementation is to stick with a regimen of plenty of leafy green veggies, eggs, and other healthy whole food sources.

For most people with neuropathic pain, biotin can help. Consult with your neuropathy specialist about whether neuropathy supplements like biotin are needed to bolster your symptom-busting neuropathy diet.

For more information about what to eat for a neuropathy diet, take a look at our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!