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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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STD & Neuropathy

mail 4 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.


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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Infectious Disease Can Be The Start of Neuropathy Problems

mail 6 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.


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