Peripheral Neuropathies

You are here:
Estimated reading time: 4 min

Description

Peripheral neuropathies refer to a broad range of conditions that involve damage or dysfunction of the peripheral nerves, affecting their ability to transmit signals between the brain, spinal cord, and the rest of the body. These nerves are responsible for conveying sensory information (such as touch, pain, and temperature) as well as controlling muscle movement.

Symptoms

Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can vary depending on the type of nerves affected but often include:

1. Numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or other areas
2. Sharp or burning pain
3. Sensitivity to touch or temperature changes
4. Muscle weakness or paralysis
5. Lack of coordination or balance
6. Changes in blood pressure or heart rate
7. Digestive issues

Treatments

Treatment aims to manage symptoms, address the underlying cause (if possible), and prevent further nerve damage. It may include medications to relieve pain, physical therapy to improve muscle strength and coordination, lifestyle changes (such as controlling blood sugar levels in diabetes), and in some cases, surgery may be required.

Managing peripheral neuropathies often involves a multidisciplinary approach, combining the expertise of neurologists, pain specialists, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals to improve the quality of life for individuals affected by these conditions.

1. Physical Therapy:
Physical therapy can help improve muscle strength, balance, and coordination. Exercises can also prevent muscle stiffness and reduce the risk of injury due to loss of sensation.

2. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS):
TENS therapy involves applying mild electrical currents to affected areas, which can help relieve pain for some individuals with neuropathy.

3. Lifestyle Changes:
Foot care: Proper foot care is crucial for those with neuropathy to prevent complications like ulcers or infections. Regular foot inspections and wearing proper footwear are important.
Diet and exercise: Managing underlying conditions like diabetes through diet and exercise can help control blood sugar levels and prevent further nerve damage.
Avoiding toxins: Limiting exposure to toxins or chemicals that can worsen neuropathy symptoms is important.

4. Alternative Therapies:
Acupuncture: Some people find relief from acupuncture sessions.
Herbal supplements: Certain herbs and supplements like alpha-lipoic acid or evening primrose oil may offer some relief for neuropathic symptoms, ozone therapy

5. Treatment of Underlying Conditions:
If the neuropathy is caused by an underlying condition (such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, infections, etc.), managing and treating that condition is essential to prevent further nerve damage.

6. Supportive Devices:
Braces, orthotic devices, or assistive tools may help with mobility or reduce the risk of injury for those with muscle weakness or coordination issues.

7. Surgery:
In severe cases, surgery may be considered to relieve pressure on nerves or address specific complications, such as nerve entrapment.

Nutrients and supplements:
1. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) – ALA is an antioxidant that may help reduce symptoms of neuropathy, such as pain, tingling, and numbness. It’s believed to protect nerve cells from damage caused by inflammation and oxidative stress.

2. Acetyl-L-Carnitine – is an amino acid that may assist in nerve regeneration and improving symptoms of neuropathy, particularly in individuals with diabetic neuropathy.

3. Vitamin B Complex – B vitamins, particularly B1 (thiamine), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12 (cobalamin), are essential for nerve health. Deficiencies in these vitamins can contribute to neuropathy, and supplements may help in some cases.

4. Omega-3s – possess anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit individuals with neuropathy by reducing inflammation in nerve tissues.

5. Vitamin D- some studies suggest that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D may be beneficial for nerve health and potentially alleviate symptoms of neuropathy.

6. Magnesium – plays a role in nerve function and may help alleviate neuropathic symptoms, especially in cases where magnesium levels are low.

7. Curcumin (Turmeric) – Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that might provide relief from neuropathic pain and inflammation.

8. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – is an antioxidant that supports mitochondrial function and may help in reducing symptoms of neuropathy by supporting nerve health.

Causes

There are many causes of peripheral neuropathies and can include:

1. Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can damage nerves over time, leading to diabetic neuropathy.
2. Infections: Certain viral or bacterial infections, such as HIV, Lyme disease, or shingles, can cause nerve damage.
3. Trauma or Injury: Accidents, falls, or injuries that impact nerves can result in neuropathies.
4. Toxins: Exposure to certain toxins like heavy metals, chemicals, or medications (such as chemotherapy drugs) can damage nerves.
5. Autoimmune Disorders: Conditions like Guillain-Barré syndrome or lupus can lead to the immune system attacking nerves.
6. Genetics: Some neuropathies are inherited and run in families.

Underlying Emotions

Diet

A well-balanced diet can play a supportive role in managing peripheral neuropathy, especially when the condition is linked to underlying factors like diabetes or nutritional deficiencies. Although no specific diet can cure neuropathy, certain dietary choices can help manage symptoms and potentially slow down its progression.

1. Balanced Macronutrients:
Aim for a balanced diet that includes adequate amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Balancing these macronutrients can help regulate blood sugar levels and support nerve health.

2. Controlled Carbohydrate Intake:
For individuals with diabetes-related neuropathy, managing carbohydrate intake is crucial to control blood sugar levels. Focus on complex carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables) and avoid simple sugars and refined carbohydrates.

3. Healthy Fats:
Incorporate sources of healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish (like salmon), which contain omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties and may benefit nerve health.

4. Lean Proteins:
Include lean protein sources like poultry, fish, beans, lentils, and tofu. Adequate protein intake supports muscle health and repair.

5. Fruits and Vegetables:
Consume a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants and vitamins. These can help reduce inflammation and provide essential vitamins and minerals for nerve function.

6. Vitamin B-rich Foods:
Include foods high in vitamin B complex, such as leafy greens, whole grains, eggs, dairy, legumes, and fortified cereals. These vitamins are crucial for nerve health.

7. Maintain Adequate Hydration:
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, as dehydration can exacerbate symptoms like numbness and tingling.

8. Limit Alcohol and Caffeine:
Excessive alcohol consumption and caffeine intake can worsen neuropathy symptoms in some individuals. Moderation is key.

9. Control Sodium Intake:
Limiting sodium intake can help manage blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications associated with certain types of neuropathy.

Remedies

Was this article helpful?
Dislike 0
Views: 35
Shopping Cart
0
    0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop