Once you know what caused the problem, your NeuropathyDR® clinician will sit down with you and formulate a plan.
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.
If you’re taking statins and you have any of these problems with your feet:
- Burning pain
- Sensitivity to touch
- Prickling sensation
Or if you suffer from
- 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.
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 https://neuropathydr.com.
As part of our continuing discussion on self-help for managing your nerve pain if you have peripheral neuropathy, here are a couple of more tips:
Walk, or Better Yet Cycle As Much As Possible
You don’t have to run a marathon or even walk one. You don’t have to race a titanium frame bicycle. Just move the big muscles in your legs as often and as much as you possibly can. Exercise, even very gently at first improves circulation and improved blood flow to the legs and feet will help nourish damaged nerves.
A Warm Bath Can Do Wonders
Warm baths increase blood flow; reduce stress and aid in relaxation. All three of these benefits will make the pain a little easier to tolerate. But a word to the wise, check the water temperature with your elbow or your wrist before you get in the bathtub. The nerve damage in your feet makes them an unreliable source for judging temperature. Use a thermometer. We like 100 degrees Fahrenheit with some added minerals and antioxidants.
If you have diabetes…
Or you’ve had shingles…
Even if you’ve completed a successful course of chemotherapy…
And you suffer from pain or burning in your feet, legs or hands, you could have peripheral neuropathy.
You’re not alone…
You don’t have to just live with it…
You don’t necessarily have to swallow more pills and pay for more expensive prescriptions…
There are things you can do to help manage your pain.
More than half the people suffering from neuropathy report that they’ve tried some complementary treatments in addition to traditional medicine to relieve their pain.
There are many things you can do daily at home to help you improve your pain. Here are few to think about:
If You Have Diabetic Neuropathy, Control Your Blood Sugar
This may sound like a no-brainer but many people with diabetes don’t realize how toxic high blood sugar is. High blood sugar is what causes nerve pain and damage. Keeping blood sugar levels close to normal can not only stop ongoing damage; some damage may even be reversible. That provides even more promise for fighting neuropathy pain.
Take Care of Your Feet
Nerve pain is usually what brings people in to see their doctors. But the numbness in their feet and inability to feel even the smallest injury can lead to infections and ulceration and ultimately end in amputation. If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy you need to take special care of your feet and be very aware of any sign of problems. Some things you can do are:
- Clean and inspect your feet every day. If you have an injury that’s not healing properly, call your doctor immediately.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Don’t wear shoes that pinch your toes or rub blisters on your heels.
- Wear padded socks to cushion the ball of your feet and the heel.
- Either cut your toenails straight across or have a doctor do it for you.
Next time, we’ll give you a few more things you can do to help manage your nerve pain to ensure a good outcome with your prescribed treatment. Always ask your NeuropathyDr trained professional what you can do to improve your outcome.
Educate Yourself to Get The Outcome You Want
Once you’ve had your visit with your health professional and you have a course of treatment in mind, learn as much as you can about your diagnosed condition. Stay on top of new developments and treatments as they become available and always ask your health professional whether or not they would be appropriate for your condition.
Many of us read business publications or Consumer Reports religiously but don’t bother to educate ourselves about our healthcare options. Be an educated consumer. Know enough to know when you should walk away from a healthcare practitioner.
More and more patients are realizing that they have a great deal of influence on their medical outcomes. Their treatment program is not just something their doctor is responsible for. It’s a partnership that requires full participation on both sides.
You live with your body every day…
Your health professional can have every medical degree known to man but he doesn’t live in your skin…
What’s normal for you may not be normal for someone else.
In order to properly treat you, the professional you trust with your medical care has to know what you’re feeling and the more detail you can provide, the better.
The bottom line is, you have to get involved in your own care if you want any chance of a good outcome.
Plan Now For Your Next Visit
Regardless of whether you’re seeing a health professional that you’ve seen before or if it’s a first time visit, the more information you can provide about your current symptoms, the better. Don’t expect to just walk into the office and “wing it” and get the best possible outcome.
Be honest in the information you provide to your health professional. If you don’t provide accurate information, there is no way he can accurately diagnose and treat whatever problems you’re having.
Plan to provide the following information:
- The reason for your current visit – what are you worried about? What changes have you noticed in your body? What are your symptoms? When did they start?
- Any allergies you have – that includes your allergies to medications, foods or anything else you’ve had an adverse reaction to.
- Make a list of all medications you currently take – both prescribed and over the counter. Be sure to include vitamins, supplements and herbs.
- Be honest about your caffeine and/or alcohol consumption – think about how much coffee, alcohol or even energy drinks you consume in an average day.
- Tell your health professional if you smoke, how much you smoke or if you use smokeless tobacco. Any of these habits can have a significant impact on diagnosing conditions accurately.
Stay tuned for more suggestions on taking control of your medical care to get the results you want.