Peripheral neuropathy is usually described as numbness or tingling in the extremities, especially the feet. There are different causes for this condition but the most common is diabetes 1 or 2. Neuropathy occurs when nerves in these extremities are damaged. A common myth is that this only causes numbness. In truth, there are other sensations experienced such as periodic or continuous stabbing or prickling pain. This discomfort can lead to loss of sleep, depression due to the physical symptoms, and failure to discover injuries in the affected areas.
Injuries, cuts, blisters or other wounds that may occur to an area stricken with neuropathy have the potential to be very dangerous, especially for diabetics. Often times a person with diabetes and neuropathy will also experience poor blood circulation in those areas. Most commonly, this happens in the feet. When a person with this condition has a foot injury, they often don’t realize it because they can’t feel it. This can lead to the injury getting worse, even causing infection. As diabetes is an autoimmune disease, this poses a serious risk. Not only is it possible for the wound to get worse or infected, poor blood circulation slows healing drastically and if not treated with care, the wound can be re-injured or infected during the healing process. This is why diabetics with advanced neuropathy often lose their toes or feet by having them surgically removed. Preventing injury can be very challenging as the lack of sensation often also causes imbalance and sometimes falling.
There are methods to slow down the progression of neuropathy and even reverse it to a degree. There are vitamin supplements such as thiamin that can aid tremendously when ingested regularly. Exercise to improve circulation, and sometimes specially prescribed footwear can assist with this. It is also very important to check all areas affected by neuropathy regularly so that any injuries or irregularities can be detected early.
People with peripheral neuropathy are strongly urged to avoid tobacco products and alcohol as both of these inhibit the circulatory system. Regular alcohol can also cause a thiamin deficiency, which compounds the issue further. In cases where there is regular pain, over-the-counter or prescribed pain medications may be used to offer relief. A healthy diet is also especially important in treating neuropathy. There are many foods which contain vitamins such as thiamin and in the case of diabetic neuropathy; a strict diet makes a large difference in regulating blood sugar levels.
I urge you to call our office today at 403-291-0603 to schedule your consultation and learn how we provide the best treatment options available for neuropathy.