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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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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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.Fotolia 5256891 XS 300x200 Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is  SO Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need)

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.

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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.

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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!

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Self-Treatment for Neuropathy Symptoms: A Supplement, Not a Substitute

There’s A Lot Neuropathy Patients Can Do At Home to Supplement Their Doctor’s Treatment Plan, But Don’t Think You Can Handle It All On Your Own.

We talk a lot about self-treatment for neuropathy and chronic neuropathic pain. But I want you to understand the difference between effective home treatment and dangerous stalling that can make your neuropathy worse.

I’ll be straightforward: if you are experiencing neuropathy symptoms like tingling, numbness, chronic pain, fatigue, and balance or movement problems, you absolutely need to be under the care of a trained neuropathy clinician. Neuropathy is often a degenerative condition that will get worse over time when not treated adequately.

The worst thing you could do for your neuropathy symptoms is to try to handle it all on your own through self-care based on what you’ve read on the Internet.

I am all for complementary forms of treatment like yoga, massage, and so on—but be aware that “complementary” means that you should use them in conjunction with effective medical treatments, not instead of medical treatment. That goes for vitamin supplementation as well.

If there is only one thing I can convey about self-treatment, it is this message: When it comes to neuropathy, it is absolutely vital to get early treatment in order to reduce or minimize your neuropathic pain. Ignoring it, self-medicating, or attempting to handle it on your own is NOT a good long-term health strategy.

Remember, home care and self-treatment strategies (like a health neuropathy diet, moderate exercise, and supplements) are intended to work WITH your neuropathy clinician’s treatment plan. The idea is to build a holistic treatment plan for neuropathy so that everything you do, in the doctor’s office and at home, is supporting your long-term health goals and improving your quality of life right away.

Read more about how to treat neuropathic pain in our neuropathy “owner’s manual”: I Beat Neuropathy!

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Neuropathy and Sleep Problems

Sleep Problems are Common among Neuropathy Patients. Here’s What You Can Do to Make It Better.

Sleep disturbances aren’t unusual for most people during times of stress or illness. But people with neuropathy tend to experience sleep problems more often, and in a more severe way, than the general population.

You may have already experienced how a lack of sufficient restful sleep can negatively impact your daily function. It can also be detrimental to your long-term health and quality of life.

If you’re not getting enough restful sleep, your body’s major systems just aren’t able to recharge like they need to in order to combat neuropathy symptoms. You’ll be noticing more and more weight gain, fatigue, depression, and chronic pain over time as you continue losing sleep.

It’s so important to share information about your sleep problems with your neuropathy specialist, who can build sleep adjustment into your overall treatment plan.

You can also make lifestyle changes starting right away to help improve your sleep quality and reduce neuropathy symptoms. Daily movement or exercise, preferably outdoors for the addition of vitamin D from sunlight, is very important for neuropathy sufferers with insomnia. Stress reduction is another key to healthy sleep to supplement your neuropathy treatment. Make sure to also get enough water and eat foods from a healthy neuropathy diet. Some patients (those without kidney disease) may want to ask their doctors about magnesium supplements.

Another option is the daily use of our home care kit featuring an FDA-approved electrotherapy neurostimulator. By reducing tingling and other symptoms that can distract you from sleep, this daily care program can get help you get more Z’s on a regular basis. The NDGen Home Care Kit also offers automatic shut-off and a timer so that you can safely use it while drifting off to sleep. Take a look at our NDGen neuropathy home care kit.

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