What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is disease that cannot be pinpointed as affecting only a single area or region of the body. Its full name is peripheral neuropathy, meaning it is a disease of the peripheral nerves (those nerves not including the brain or spine). The disease doesn’t affect the central nervous system.
What causes neuropathy?
Types of Neuropathy
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Focal neuropathy
- Autonomic neuropathy
- Proximal neuropathy
Diabetic is the most common form of neuropathy and can be categorized as peripheral, autonomic, proximal, or focal. Individuals who have had diabetes for many years are more prone to developing diabetic neuropathy due to large amounts of glucose that injure the blood vessels that carry nerves. The areas of the body most affected are the legs and feet. This damage can cause the feet to feel numb and is the leading cause of diabetic foot issues.
What are the Symptoms of Neuropathy?
Because this disease can affect many different regions of the body and nerves, there are a variety of symptoms for neuropathy.
Body Organ Problems
Bloated feeling, problems digesting or keeping down food, loose stool or hard stool can be signs of nerve damage due to neuropathy. Other organ problems include difficulty swallowing or light, faint feelings when standing up. This could be a warning sign for a heart attack. When nerves around the heart are damaged they can shut off warning signs of a heart attack such as Angina.
Pain and Numbness
One of the earliest signs of nerve damage is numbness and tingling and usually begins in the toes and feet. It may progress to a deep throbbing pain that is located in the legs and feet.
The loss of feeling in the legs and feet is strong warning sign that you nerves may be damaged. The feeling is akin to you feet being sleep.
Damage around the muscles can make muscle function difficult. Individuals may feel tired, fatigued, have problems standing and experience muscle spasms or twitching. Other symptoms include trouble swallowing, gripping objects, and blurred vision.
Other Common Symptoms
- Erectile dysfunction
- Vaginal dryness and the inability to reach an orgasm
- Vitamin deficiency
- The inability to empty the bladder
- Loss of coordination
- Burning pain
- Eye problems
- Changes to the skin, nails and or hair
- Kidney and liver disorders
- Hereditary disorders
- Medication (those that treat cancer)
How Do You Diagnosis or Test for Neuropathy?
This disease can mimic various other illnesses so proper diagnosis is crucial to regain your overall health. Doctors may look at your medical history such as drinking, weight, exercise and family history to get a clear view of whether you are suffering from neuropathy or something else.
Reflexive, muscle tone and depth, posture and coordination, and sensation test may be performed to identify if you are suffering from one of the types of neuropathy.
For those who a diagnosed with diabetes, you doctor should also be testing for neuropathy once you are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and regular checkups should be set in motion to ensure you are not developing diabetic neuropathy.
Electromyography (EMG) is a procedure used to test muscle weakness. The test can isolate whether muscle weakness is the result of neurological issues or is indeed nerve damage. Nerve conduction test usually follow EMG test because reduced conduction can be a sign of nerve damage.
Treatment for Neuropathy
Holistic Treatment for Neuropathy
Living with neuropathy can take days out of your life. The varying types of neuropathy require specialized treatment options. The goal of treating neuropathy is to combat the issues and problems that are causing the disease to develop. Studies have shown that if the base problem of neuropathy is treated the disease goes away on its own.
Some of the early prevention methods of neuropathy can be simple lifestyle adjustments.
- Stop drinking excessively or moderate the amount you drink
- Stop smoking
- Try to maintain a healthy weight
- Monitoring glucose levels
Hand and foot braces can help to stabilize these areas that are affected by muscle problems.
Vitamins and Supplements
Medication for Neuropathy
- Pain killers
- Anti depressants
- Lidocaine patch
Our Motto: You CAN live with pain, but we believe that you SHOULDN’T have to. Consult a doctor to properly identify whether the symptoms you are experiencing are the cause of Neuropathy.