Millions of Americans live with peripheral neuropathy. Neuropathy means nerve damage. So, peripheral neuropathy is damage to the nerves in the outer extremities, such as feet and hands. The definitive cause of neuropathy is not always clear. Some factors that may cause chronic neurological disease include:
Trauma from repetitive stress and injury
Medical treatments such as surgeries and chemotherapy
Heavy alcohol intake that causes nerve damage
Viral and bacterial infections
Dialysis for kidney disease
Inflammation from autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
Peripheral nerves are the longest nerves in your body. Peripheral neuropathy occurs when there is damage to your peripheral nervous system. This system consists of nerves that carry information between the spinal cord, brain, and the rest of the body. Impairment of these nerves causes various symptoms, such as:
However, symptoms vary depending on the severity of nerve damage. The most common cause of PN is diabetes. About 70 percent of people suffering from peripheral neuropathy are diabetics.
Living with this condition can be frustrating and challenging due to the symptoms it causes. It is like riding a roller coaster. Patients often experience debilitating pain and changing symptoms.
Managing this condition can feel overwhelming at times and frustrating at best. Fortunately, treatment can go a long way to improving your quality of life. Other ways to manage this condition include:
It is imperative to eat a healthy diet if you suffer from peripheral neuropathy. Adopt a diet low in sugar and high in fiber to help control your blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can worsen your nerve damage and resulting symptoms.
Also, it would help to remember that smoking can contribute to further nerve damage and worse symptoms. Furthermore, a healthy diet will help you maintain a healthy weight. That is important since too much weight can increase pressure on your nerves, worsening your symptoms.
Stress can cause your body to release chemicals that can harm your nerves. So, you should find effective ways to manage or lower your stress levels. Some of these include deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga.
Regular exercise can help boost blood circulation, which can help improve the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Additionally, exercising can help you lose weight.
Various treatments are available for people living with peripheral neuropathy. However, what works for one individual may not work for another. Common treatments for this condition include pain, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory, topical, and anti-seizure medications. Others are physical therapy, surgery, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
While it is true that surgery or injury can cause some nerve damage, neuropathy is preventable in some cases. Sometimes, it is possible to slow it from spreading. Exercising and watching your diet can help prevent this condition from developing.
Whether you have been living with this condition for many years or are new to living with it, understanding it will help you make smarter decisions about your well-being and health.
For more on peripheral neuropathy, call Beyer Functional Wellness at (708) 719-9100 to reach our office in Mokena, Illinois.