Management of peripheral neuropathy – Punch Newspapers | #elderly | #seniors | #execrise
Common complaints at the outpatient clinics by people in the middle age and elderly are that of pain under the soles of the feet and tingling sensation or parasthesia. These are recurring symptoms in those with diabetes, hypertension, vitamin deficiencies and vertebrate disorders. It has to do with the nerves in the human body. These are related symptoms are caused by damage to the nerves. It is called Peripheral Neuropathy.
Peripheral Neuropathy refers to damage that occurs to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves). It usually affects the nerves in the hands, feet, arms or legs. Peripheral neuropathy can affect many different nerves (polyneuropathy) and can also affect single nerves like that of carpal tunnel syndrome that affect the wrist.
Not a single disease, peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage caused by a number of conditions this includes:
Diabetes. More than half the people with diabetes develop some type of neuropathy.
Infections. These include certain viral or bacterial infections, including Lyme disease, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C, leprosy, diphtheria, and HIV.
Inherited disorders. Disorders Autoimmune diseases.
Tumors. Growths, cancerous (malignant) and noncancerous (benign), can develop on the nerves or press nerves.
Polyneuropathy can arise as a result of some cancers related to the body’s immune responsecalled paraneoplastic syndrome.
Bone marrow disorders. These include an abnormal protein in the blood , a form of bone cancer.
Other diseases. These include kidney disease, liver disease, connective tissue disorders and an hypothyroidism.
Alcoholism. Poor dietary choices made by people with alcoholism can lead to vitamin deficiencies.
Exposure to poisons. Toxic substances include industrial chemicals and heavy metals such as lead and mercury.
Medications. Certain medications, especially those used to treat cancer (chemotherapy), can cause peripheral neuropathy.
Trauma or pressure on the nerve. Traumas, such as from motor vehicle accidents, falls or sports injuries, can sever or damage peripheral nerves. Nerve pressure can result from having a cast or using crutches or repeating a motion such as typing many times.
Vitamin deficiencies. B vitamins — including B-1, B-6 and B-12 — vitamin E and niacin are crucial to nerve health.
Signs and symptoms
Gradual onset of numbness, prickling or tingling in the feet or hands, which can spread upward into your legs and arms, coldness or hotness of the feet, pains on the soles of the feet, sharp, jabbing, throbbing or burning pain, extreme sensitivity to touch, pain in the feet when putting weight on them or when they’re under a blanket, people with peripheralneuropathy generally describe the pain as stabbing, burning or tingling. lack of coordination and falling, muscle weakness, feeling as if one is wearing gloves or socks when one is not. in some cases autonomic nerves are affected, signs and symptoms might include:heat intolerance, excessive sweating or not being able to sweat, bowel, bladder or digestive problems, changes in blood pressure, causing dizziness or lightheadedness
Complications of peripheral neuropathy can include:Burns and skin trauma- one might not feel temperature changes or pain on parts of the body that are numb. The feet and other areas lacking sensation can become injured without one knowing.Check these areas regularly and treat minor injuries before they become infected, especially if there is diabetes. Falls-weakness and loss of sensation may be associated with lack of balance and falling.
The best way to prevent peripheral neuropathy is to manage medical conditions that put one at risk, such as diabetes, alcoholism or rheumatoid arthritis. One is to make healthy lifestyle choices, these habits support the nerve health:
Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein to keep nerves healthy. Protect against vitamin B-12 deficiency by eating meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy foods and fortified cereals. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, fortified cereals are a good source of vitamin B-12, but talk to your doctor about B-12 supplements.
Exercise regularly. With your doctor’s OK, try to get at least 30 minutes to one hour of exercise at least three times a week.
Avoid factors that may cause nerve damage, including repetitive motions, cramped positions that put pressure on nerves, exposure to toxic chemicalsand overindulging in alcohol
Quitting smoking is particularly important because smoking constricts the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the peripheral nerves and can worsen neuropathic symptoms.
Any underlying condition is treated first, followed by symptomatic treatment. Symptoms often can be controlled, and eliminating the causes of specific forms of neuropathy often can prevent new damage.
Systemic diseases frequently require more complex treatments. Strict control of blood glucose levels has been shown to reduce neuropathic symptoms and help people with diabetic neuropathy avoid further nerve damage.
Medications can reduce the pain of peripheral neuropathy includes neurovitamins, analgesics and some anticonvulsants.
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