Neuropathy refers to when the nerves are damaged. This can happen for a wide number of reasons; including accidents, trauma, disease such as diabetes and sometime the reason cannot be discovered. In fact, some form of nerve damage is very common; as many as two in three adults will experience nerve damage during their life.
Although there are many causes, the most common cause, by far, is from diabetes. In these cases nerve damage is caused by high levels of blood sugar for an extended period of time. This can cause a calcium overload in the nerves which causes them to behave under their own initiative.
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Why Neuropathy in Feet and Legs?
The body works hard to protect the vital organs first; this is true whether you are in an extremely cold survival situation or dealing with high blood sugar levels. The feet and legs are important body parts but not vital organs. As the furthest away from the heart they will be the ones that suffer first. See The Neuropathy Solution for more information (review).
Providing the Best Treatment for Neuropathy in Feet and Legs
Although steps have been made towards reversing nerve damage, there is no definitive procedure of medication which can successfully achieve this goal, yet. Instead, treatment focuses on dealing with the symptoms and ensuring sufferers have the best possible quality of life:
The first step in any treatment plan is to provide effective pain relief. Nerve damage frequently appears as tingling or sharp, shooting pains. These can be very difficult to live with and make living a normal life virtually impossible. It is likely that over the counter drugs will not be enough to deal with the pain. Your doctor may prescribe one of the following:
- Neurontin – an epilepsy drug which reduces nerve sensations; thereby reducing pain.
- Duloxetine – this works in a similar way to Neurontin inhibiting nerve response. It is also commonly used as an antidepressant.
- Patches – these contain anesthetic which is localized by the patch but can provide effective relief; although you will lose any feeling in the area.
- Opioid Painkillers – These are prescription but can be extremely addictive; it is advisable to approach with caution.
Pain relief is essential to many sufferers; regardless of how the condition was developed.
- Treatment Options
The exact treatment option for neuropathy in feet and legs will depend upon the reason for the nerve damage:
- Compression Injuries – Nerve damage caused by this type of injury are usually temporary; providing the item causing the compression was not on you for too long a period.
- Inflammation Issues – If the nerve damage is being caused by inflammation then it should be resolved by resting the affected foot and leg. You can also apply heat treatments to reduce any swelling round the inflamed nerve.
- Pinching – Nerves can be pinched as a result of carpal tunnel or similar injuries. In these instances surgery can be used to release the trapped nerve.
- Diabetes – This is the most common reason and the hardest to treat successfully. There are a variety of options available.
Diabetes Neuropathy in Feet and Legs
This section requires a more in-depth study regarding the treatment options. Neuropathy in feet and legs is a side effect of this condition; although it must be treated in stages:
- Check Your Diet
The first step to treating neuropathy is to reduce the level of blood sugar in your body. This has been linked with damage to the nerves. Keeping your blood sugar level balanced will help to prevent any further issues occurring. It will probably not reduce the damage which has already occurred.
Starting or increasing your level of exercise will reduce your blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of nerve damage in your feet and legs. It will also improve the flow of nutrients and oxygen round your body.
- Vitamin D & B
The latest research shows that vitamin D can protect against nerve pain. Vitamin D can be obtained from food and the sun; but you may find it preferable and more reliable to take it as a supplement.
The same can also be said for vitamin B which is known to help signals move through your body. Vitamin B6 is particularly important for this while low levels of B12 have been linked with nerve damage.
- Alpha-Lipoic Supplement
This supplement has been shown to balance your blood sugar levels and even been linked with pain relief and long term nerve protection.
Surprisingly research has linked neuropathy in feet and legs with anxiety. This has been shown to effectively aggravate your nerves. It is, therefore, important to avoid stressful situations and learn relaxation techniques which will help you to remain focused and calm. Yoga and meditation are two excellent examples.
The right treatment plan as The Neuropathy Solution can prevent nerve damage in feet and legs from getting worse and help you to live a normal life.