Daily Self Care is a Vital Part of Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy

In Treating Diabetic Neuropathy, Daily Self Care is an Essential Component of Getting Back on the Road to Wellness.

Diabetic neuropathy refers to a specific kind of peripheral neuropathy that is unique to diabetes patients. It happens when poor circulation prevents nerves from getting enough blood flow, and it’s exacerbated by lack of control over elevated blood sugar.

Long-term, diabetic neuropathy can cause severe nerve damage that can be debilitating and have a huge negative impact on quality of life.

If you have any of the following symptoms and have diabetes, it’s very important to get a thorough assessment from a trained diabetic neuropathy clinician:

  • Pain in feet or legs
  • Tingling or burning in legs, feet, hands or arms
  • Numbness or lack of sensation
  • Cramping or weakness in muscles
  • Inability to distinguish warm and cold

If a trained neuropathy specialist finds that you have diabetic neuropathy, the first step to better health will involve getting your diabetes under good management to avoid any additional nerve damage. This may involve medications and/or a diabetic neuropathy diet. Along with reducing sugar sources in your diet, you will want to make sure you’re getting lots of whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, and enough fiber.

This diet will provide a basis for healing so that you can begin to chip away at diabetic neuropathy symptoms and improve your quality of life. Your diabetic neuropathy specialist may also recommend nutrient supplements, high-tech innovations such as laser therapy, or complementary medicine such as massage or acupuncture.

It’s important to understand that there is much you can do at home, aside from a healthy neuropathy diet, to provide self care to aid and hasten your healing. You will need to visually monitor your feet and hands every day for any inflammation, blisters, sores, or broken skin to avoid infection. You can also undertake a gentle exercise routine based on input from your diabetic neuropathy specialist.

For more information on the diabetic neuropathy diet and other self care you can do at home to improve quality of life, take a look at I Beat Neuropathy!

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What’s The Prognosis for Hereditary Neuropathy?

Diagnosed with a Hereditary Form of Neuropathy? Here’s How to Treat Longstanding and Progressive Nerve Symptoms.

If you have hereditary neuropathy, you may have received your diagnosis years ago in your 20s or 30s, or even in your teens. You’re probably already familiar with terms like these: HNPP (Hereditary Neuropathy with Liability to Pressure Palsies), Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, DSD (Dejerine-Sottas Disease), or HMN (Hereditary Motor Neuropathy).

You probably also already know the kinds of symptoms that these hereditary neuropathies can cause:

  • Pain in the hands and feet
  • Tingling or numbness, especially in extremities
  • Weak and emaciated muscles in the legs and feet
  • Problems sweating
  • Deformities of the foot (such as hammer toes) or spine (such as scoliosis)

But what you may not know is the vast advancements in treating hereditary neuropathy that have been made over the past few years. Though your condition is not curable, it is in many cases highly treatable.

Here are the general types of hereditary neuropathy that we usually see in our clinics. People with sensory neuropathy have limited input from touch and the other “six senses” that we normally gather information about the world. People with motor neuropathies have limited mobility or range of motion. People with autonomic neuropathy have trouble with their bodies’ ability to efficiently regulate things like their heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and other body systems that normally take care of themselves without any input from us. And some folks have mixed neuropathies that affect more than one body system.

Genetic testing is the primary way to diagnose hereditary neuropathy, along with nerve biopsies and nerve conduction studies. All of these elements are needed for an accurate diagnosis. Your neuropathy specialist should also interview you for information about your family’s health going back two to three generations. It’s important to note that you might have a hereditary form of neuropathy even if you don’t know of anyone in your family with similar symptoms.

When it comes to formulating a treatment plan, keep in mind that hereditary neuropathy can’t be cured, but treatments are available to help you heal as much as possible and significantly improve your quality of life. Typically, your treatment plan should include several elements, including:

  • Addressing any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • Beneficial lifestyle changes, including nutrition and appropriate exercise
  • Medication (in some cases)
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Other high-tech treatment options, such as laser light therapy

It’s vital to seek a diagnosis and treatment planning from a highly trained neuropathy specialist who can customize your treatment for your specific needs. Click here to find a NeuropathyDR® specialist near you.

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Is Your Neuropathy Treatment Addressing These Vital Concerns?

Any Competent Neuropathy Treatment Specialist Knows That These Three Areas of Your Health Need To Be Examined Together For The Best Long-Term Prognosis.

Too often, physicians without specialty training in neuropathy treatment tend to look at neuropathy symptoms one by one, as if they are separate problems.

They might also have outdated ideas about neuropathy—such as the belief that when nerves stop functioning correctly, it’s because the nerves are dead and can’t be restored. (These days, we know so much more about how to nurture damaged nerves back to health! But not every doctor has this up-to-date training.)

In truth, neuropathy is truly a global health problem affecting many of your major systems. And in many cases, impaired nerve function CAN be restored to some degree.

The most effective neuropathy treatment will involve methodically examining your core health in three areas.

First of all, good neuropathy treatment will closely evaluate your metabolic function to make sure that your body is being as energy-efficient as possible. We do this through dietary changes and supplements, in addition to addressing any underlying issues with diabetes, thyroid problems, or other serious medical conditions. Without this baseline, attempting surface-level neuropathy treatment just won’t be very effective in the long-term.

Next, we will look at how the biomechanics of your body—essentially, how well your skeleton is functioning. That’s because things like disc problems, arthritis, or old injuries from your athletic youth can interfere with circulation to your nerves. For this reason, restoring joint and muscle function as much as possible is a priority in helping to reduce your neuropathy symptoms.

Finally, we’ll also use specific neuropathy treatment protocols that have been shown to positively impact symptoms. Components like LED light therapy, laser therapy, massage, and nerve stimulation can be done in the neuropathy treatment specialist’s office. There are also home kits available that you can use to continue gaining relief on your own.

Click here to read more about at-home neuropathy treatment using our FDA-approved home care kit.

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A Focus on Mobility in Your Neuropathy Treatment

Your Neuropathy Treatment Plan Should Include Appropriate Exercise to Help You Retain Your Ability to Walk and Move Normally.

No doubt, one of the most crippling side effects of chronic pain and neuropathy is losing normal mobility function—in other words, reduced ability to walk and move around as you used to do.

It’s such a common experience for neuropathy sufferers. Unfortunately, reduced mobility has dangerous side effects of its own, including an increased chance of becoming ill with other chronic conditions like heart disease, or making an existing condition (such as diabetes) significantly worse.

You might think that it would make sense for your doctor to prescribe rest when you have neuropathy symptoms, especially when walking seems to make your symptoms worse.

But light exercise (approved by your physician, of course) can actually help to reduce your symptoms and aid your overall health. That’s because even a small amount of activity can have good health effects like increasing your energy, raising your body temperature, and helping to maintain adequate muscle tone.

What’s more, if you are able to institute a regular program of doctor-approved light exercise, you may find that you don’t need as much pain medication!

This is a tricky area, though—striving for just the right amount of activity that isn’t too much (which can exacerbate neuropathy symptoms) or not enough (which causes problems of its own). It’s important for you to follow an appropriate exercise program that you’ve developed in collaboration with your neuropathy specialist.

When you are talking with your doctor about the appropriate type and duration of exercise, keep these key points in mind:

  • Staying well hydrated is so important. You’ve got to make sure to get an adequate amount of water every day—not just any old beverage, but specifically water, which your body’s systems must have in order to function as well as possible.
  • Try to avoid getting cold, which brings on stiffness. That means wearing light but warming layers of silk, microfiber, or wool, even in the warmer months. You’ll also need to stay out of drafts and wind, which may make certain neuropathy symptoms much worse.
  • Most of all, you’ll need to eat well in order to get the right nutrients and avoid neuropathy triggers. Our NeuropathyDR® diet is designed specifically with these goals in mind.

Are you ready to take charge of your neuropathy symptoms and get your mobility back? Just for you, we have created the neuropathy owner’s manual: I Beat Neuropathy!

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How to Improve Your Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy Can Severely Impair Your Everyday Functioning—Unless You Take These Important Steps Back to Good Nerve Health

You already know from experience that peripheral neuropathy can have severe and destructive effects on your everyday quality of life. With neuropathic pain, even the easiest tasks can begin to feel impossible. It’s hard to work, to move around, or even to sleep when you are affected by nerve pain, numbness, and tingling.

When we talk about “quality of life” in the medical setting, we are looking at the degree to which you have been able to adapt to your medical condition. We take a look at things like your interactions with family and friends, your physical well-being, the activities you enjoy in your life, and your own perception of the state of your health.

That last one is crucially important. We know that your beliefs and attitudes about your underlying medical condition (such as diabetes, lupus, or HIV/AIDS) make a huge difference in your quality of life and your ability to deal with peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Peripheral neuropathy is considered to be chronic pain. It’s not something that will come and go; people with peripheral neuropathy symptoms tend to experience them constantly. This kind of never-ending pain can be disruptive to your ability to work, your social life, your sleep routine, and your mental health. Many people with peripheral neuropathy become anxious or depressed due to their experience of chronic pain.

The Good News About Quality of Life with Peripheral Neuropathy

Let me share the good news about neuropathic pain. Although most nerve damage is permanent and there is no true cure for peripheral neuropathy, there are many things that you are able to do to improve your quality of life and regain close-to-normal functioning.

First, take good care of your feet, wear comfortable shoes and socks, and avoid going barefoot. Get foot massages to help reduce pain and improve your circulation. Call your doctor immediately if you notice any sore spots, blisters, or other issues on the soles of your feet.

Next, cut back on caffeine and nicotine. If you’re able to quit, do so! Nicotine has been shown to decrease your circulation, and caffeine most likely is making your peripheral neuropathy pain even worse.

Try to maintain an active lifestyle to the extent that is possible for you. Of course, you’ll need to check with your doctor or peripheral neuropathy clinician before beginning any exercise program. Exercise will improve your circulation, your mood, and your overall quality of life.

Finally, one of the most important changes you can make is to follow the NeuropathyDR® diet that provides everything your body needs to begin healing peripheral neuropathy. This is best undertaken under the supervision of a NeuropathyDR® specialist who can prescribe a custom treatment plan for your individual needs. To find a NeuropathyDR® specialist near you, click here.

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Top 5 Neuropathy Myths

Have You Fallen For These Neuropathy Myths? Find the Real Facts Here.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there concerning neuropathy—what it is, what causes it, and most of all, what you can do about it.

In some cases, these neuropathy myths arise from confusion due to outdated information, misleading claims, and rumors perpetuated by neuropathy sufferers looking for a cure.

Take a look at the following neuropathy myths and the real facts known by current medical science, and decide for yourself.

Myth #1: Neuropathy pain happens naturally with age.

Neuropathy can happen to people of any age; it’s just a little more common in the senior population. And neuropathic pain is not inevitable with advanced age. Instead, it’s correlated with certain problems that can happen to older people, such as drug complications and metabolic issues. In fact, there’s plenty you can do to help prevent neuropathic pain from negatively impacting your quality of life as you get older.

Myth #2: My friend with neuropathic pain says that my symptoms can’t be neuropathy, because my pain is nothing like my friend’s pain.

Neuropathy can present with a variety of specific symptoms. These can include sharp pain, lack of normal sensation, unpleasant tingling, or inability to retain control over motor functions. Some individuals will have only one symptom, while others have multiple indicators of nerve damage. In the most severe cases, there can even be organ damage that impairs normal function. One person’s neuropathy may not look anything like another person’s neuropathic pain. That’s why it’s so important to get a diagnosis from a trained clinician with a background in treating neuropathy.

Myth #3: Only people with diabetes develop neuropathy symptoms.

It’s true that neuropathy is one of the symptoms commonly associated with diabetes. However, there are many other patients who are affected by neuropathy—including people in chemotherapy cancer treatment, people with minor physical problems like carpel tunnel syndrome, and those who have undergone an illness or injury.

Myth #4: There is a simple cure for neuropathy.

Unfortunately, although there are many websites and books out there claiming that they alone can provide a “cure” for neuropathic pain, the truth is that there’s no real cure. It’s also important to keep in mind that neuropathy looks different for every individual sufferer, so how could a website or book possibly offer a miracle cure for YOU and your individual pain? Any cookie cutter solution is likely to be a scam or just plain ineffective. Always talk with your physician before beginning any type of neuropathy treatment program.

Myth #5: If there’s no cure for neuropathy, then there’s no point in trying to treat my symptoms.

Actually, many neuropathy sufferers have been able to significantly improve their quality of life and even reduce the severity of their symptoms. There’s no “cure,” but there is a proven effective treatment regimen that blends home care and lifestyle changes with clinical treatment protocols to ease neuropathy pain.

You’ve already taken the first step by reading this article. An informed patient is a powerful patient! For more concrete, practical information about neuropathy and how you can turn your symptoms around, take a look at the neuropathy owner’s manual: I Beat Neuropathy!

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Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms After Surgery

If You Are Experiencing Peripheral Neuropathy Symptoms Following a Major Surgery, You Are Not Alone. Keep Reading to Learn Why This Happens and What You Can Do About It.

Recovering from surgery is always a bit of an ordeal. It can feel like a huge triumph just to avoid infection, wean off those post-surgery medications, and start feeling somewhat normal again.

Unfortunately, surgery can sometimes cause brand-new neuropathy problems, including:

  • Nerve pain
  • Extreme sensations of warmth or cold in the skin of extremities
  • Inability to sense vibration or touch
  • Burning or tingling in feet and hands

There are a lot of reasons why you could be experience neuropathy pain after surgery. Let’s take a look at three of the most common reasons.

First of all, the use of general anesthetic, especially prolonged use in lengthy surgeries, can cause hypoxia. This is a condition in which the anesthetic prevents certain types of nerves in your body from getting the right amount of oxygen, leading to damage.

In addition, nerve compression, leading to neuropathic pain, can be caused by conditions like carpel tunnel syndrome and sciatica. Experiencing neuropathy symptoms after a surgery that intended to alleviate these conditions could simply be a new awareness of existing symptoms that were not adequately addressed by the surgery.

The question is, now that you know you have neuropathy—a real condition, not something that’s “all in your head”—what can you do about it?

There are several steps you can take right now to alleviate your neuropathy pain.

First, make an appointment for a consultation with a trained neuropathy doctor who can accurately diagnose your nerve damage issues along with any global health problems (such as diabetes) that can exacerbate your symptoms. Trained NeuropathyDR® clinicians are knowledgeable in customizing available treatments to address your unique neuropathy symptoms and health needs.

Next, begin to educate yourself so that you can be your own most effective healthcare advocate. Learn all you can about neuropathy treatment, including home treatment options and beneficial lifestyle changes that can keep your symptoms at bay.

Be sure to check out our Self-Guided Care page to learn more about at-home peripheral neuropathy treatment options, including the FDA-approved NDGen Home Care Kit.

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Self-Diagnosing Neuropathic Pain is a Dangerous Game

Attempting to Diagnosis and Treat Neuropathic Pain On Your Own Just Delays Effective Treatment (and Could Worsen Your Symptoms)

In some ways, the Internet has been a blessing in terms of the availability of medical information. This can be so helpful if you suspect that you have the flu, or a mild skin rash, or poison ivy.

Where it’s not helpful, and may be very harmful indeed, is when you rely entirely on the Internet for self-diagnosis of serious health concerns related to neuropathic pain—including diabetic neuropathy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, shingles, peripheral neuropathy, or chemotherapy neuropathy.

When you attempt to self-diagnose and self-treat these conditions, you are impeding a truly helpful evaluation by a trained neuropathy doctor that can prevent additional nerve damage and substantially improve your quality of life.

In short, by attempting to treat your own neuropathic pain, you are wasting your health and valuable time—in short, making your condition worse. Early treatment is crucial for the success of eliminating neuropathic pain.

We’ve talked to so many patients with neuropathic pain who delayed seeing a NeuropathyDR® clinician because they wanted to save money. They inevitably tell us that they regret the wasted time and the long-term expense caused by increased nerve damage and all that it entails.

When you are dealing with neuropathy related to diabetes, chemotherapy treatment, and other serious conditions, it’s so important to think long-term. Neuropathy isn’t just an annoying side effect. It is a degenerative condition that will get worse over time and complicate other health concerns.

You may have learned that self-reliance and “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is a good thing. In the case of neuropathic pain symptoms, however, the worst thing you can do is spend time trying to diagnosis and treat yourself.

When we say that self-treatment and home care is important, we’re referring to lifestyle elements implemented over time that complement the medical therapies recommended for you by your NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Self-treatment is an important component of your neuropathy treatment, AFTER a clinical diagnosis. Anything else is just a delaying tactic—one that could severely impact your health, not just today but years from now.

To read more about the diagnosis process and where to go from here with neuropathic pain, take a look at our neuropathy “owner’s manual”: I Beat Neuropathy!

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Neuropathy Pain Is Serious Business! The Hidden Dangers of Autonomic Neuropathy

Neuropathy Pain Can Lead to Serious and Life-Threatening Nerve Damage. Here’s What You Need to Know for Your Long-Term Health.

You already know that neuropathy pain can significantly impair your quality of life on a daily basis, and in a long-term way. But did you realize that ignoring neuropathy pain can actually contribute to the development of life-threatening illness?

When there is nerve damage to your autonomic systems (the parts of your body that function automatically, like digestion and blood pressure), these systems are likely to stop behaving like they should. This is called autonomic neuropathy, and it can actually threaten your life. Any impairment of autonomic systems is an immediate danger to your health.

When are you at risk for autonomic neuropathy? You should consult a qualified neuropathy physician if you have any of these conditions that are frequently associated with neuropathic pain and damage from autonomic neuropathy:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer that is being treated with chemotherapy
  • AIDS or HIV
  • Lupus

It is also extremely important for you to seek the support of a NeuropathyDR® clinician if you are experiencing any of these nerve damage symptoms:

  • Unusual sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling or numbness in extremities
  • Change in the way you feel sense hot and cold temperatures
  • Sexual problems
  • Loss of ability to control your limbs or fingers and toes

You might also be in a high-risk category for developing autonomic neuropathy related to neuropathic pain if you have had a severe injury or amputation. In these cases, be sure to see a NeuropathyDR® clinician for a consultation now, instead of waiting for symptoms to develop.

There are times when a trained physician can detect nerve damage before any symptoms arise, and early intervention in treatment is key—not just to quality of life over time in terms of neuropathy pain, but also avoiding life-threatening scenarios related to autonomic neuropathy.

For a list of NeuropathyDR® clinicians near you, see Find A Neuropathy Treatment Center.

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The First Steps You Should Take After You Learn That You Have Neuropathy

Unsure What To Do Next After a Neuropathy Diagnosis? The First Steps Are Simple But Effective in Managing This Condition.

Finally, after a lot of confusion and misdiagnosis, your doctor has said that your symptoms are caused by neuropathy. It may be a relief to have a diagnosis and a name for the pain, tingling, or numbness you’ve been experiencing. Then again, you may simply feel discouraged and have no idea what to do next.

By far, the number one question I get from patients is, “Now what?” After a neuropathy diagnosis, what should a patient do next?

In particular, the doctor who diagnosed you may not have been able to offer much guidance. Most doctors just don’t have the training or knowledge in this area.

But there are specialists out there who can collaborate with you on a customized neuropathy treatment plan, one that is tailored to your specific needs—because neuropathy is not a cookie-cutter condition.

My advice to you as a newly diagnosed neuropathy patient is to follow these steps:

  1. Immediately put in place an effective management plan for any urgent or underlying medical conditions that you may have, including cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.
  2. Locate a neuropathy treatment specialist who can aid you in forming a treatment plan specific to your needs. If there is not a trained neuropathy doctor local to you—one who is willing to advise real corrective action rather than simply masking symptoms with medication—then there may be a NeuropathyDR® specialist who can consult from a distance with your medical team.
  3. Look closely at the everyday habits that are impacting your health. Do you smoke? Are you physically inactive? These are things that you can, and should, change so that your overall health will improve both short-term and long-term. Willingness to shift your eating habits toward a supportive neuropathy diet will also have a huge impact on your symptoms and well-being.

There is much that you can do on your own to benefit your health and reduce neuropathy symptoms. Working hand in hand with your NeuropathyDR® clinician, your health WILL improve.

Take a look at our patient’s guide to neuropathy and how to navigate your neuropathy treatment: I Beat Neuropathy! Getting Your Life Back on Track.

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