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Numb Feet And Diabetes

Caring For Diabetes-related Nerve Disorders (neuropathy)

Caring For Diabetes-related Nerve Disorders (neuropathy)

What is diabetic neuropathy? Some diseases consume the body like wildfire. Others are more like a slow burn. Diabetes is a malady that takes its time. If not controlled, diabetes slowly eats away at the body's cells, especially nerve cells. Doctors call the gradual breakdown of nerve cells "neuropathy." At first, nobody misses a few dead cells here and there. But after a decade or two, the damage can be impossible to ignore. Many patients suffer numbness or the opposite, extreme pain. As a result of decreased sensation, many people with diabetes may not be aware when they've broken the skin or suffered a cut or scrape on one of their feet. Bacteria can then set up housekeeping -- an invasion aided by impaired circulation and small vessel disease caused by diabetes. In some cases, these unnoticed infections can lead to raging infections and loss of the limb. Despite many recent advances in diabetes treatment, neuropathy remains frighteningly common. About 60 to 70 percent of people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes will eventually develop nerve damage, though not all of them will have symptoms. But if you have diabetes, remember this: the key to avoiding nerve damage is prevention. By carefully controlling your blood sugar, you can help keep your nerve cells out of harm's way. What causes diabetic neuropathy? When people with diabetes experience pain, tingling, numbness or other sensory symptoms, typically in the feet, high blood sugar seems to be the real culprit. In general, nerve cells only start dying when blood sugar stays too high over a long period of time. Nobody knows why extra sugar is so toxic. Perhaps it upsets the chemical balance in the nerves. Or perhaps the sugar slows down blood circulation and cuts off the oxygen supply to the nervous system. Expert Continue reading >>

Are Your Feet Burning?

Are Your Feet Burning?

What you describe sounds like a common condition called peripheral neuropathy, which stems from damage to the peripheral nerves that branch out through the arms, legs, fingers and toes. The symptoms include weakness, numbness, tingling and burning or painful sensation. Peripheral neuropathy is often due to diabetes but can occur as a result of toxic trauma (such as chemotherapy) or mechanical injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes, it is due to prolonged use of crutches or even sitting in the same position for too long. Other disorders that can lead to peripheral neuropathy include atherosclerosis, autoimmunity, infections, advanced kidney disease and hypothyroidism as well as a number of drugs and environmental toxins. Your first step should be a general medical checkup to rule out underlying disease as the cause of your symptoms and to determine exactly what the problem is. Your doctor should do complete blood work and may refer you to a neurologist who will probably do an EMG (electromyelogram) to assess muscles and nerve conduction. If you have no underlying disease, you can try one or all of the following strategies to deal with your symptoms: Take one B-100 B-complex vitamin daily. The B vitamins are necessary for normal nerve function, and supplementing is a good preventive measure. (Don’t take more than 200mg of B-6, as higher daily doses can actually cause symptoms of neuropathy.) Take 100 mg of alpha lipoic acid once a day. This antioxidant protects microcirculation to the nerves. You can gradually increase the dose to 300 mg twice a day over the next month. Try acupuncture. You can find a qualified acupuncturist in your area through NCCAOM (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine ) or the AAOM (American Association Continue reading >>

Surprising Symptoms Of Prediabetes

Surprising Symptoms Of Prediabetes

One of the best ways to prevent diabetes is to spot blood sugar (glucose) problems before the full-blown disease develops. But most people don’t realize that diabetes — and its precursor, prediabetes — can cause no symptoms at all or a wide range of symptoms that often are misinterpreted. Common mistake: Because diabetes is strongly linked to excess body weight, many people who are a normal weight assume that they won’t develop the disease. But that’s not always true. About 15% of people who are diagnosed with diabetes are not overweight. And paradoxically, even weight loss can be a symptom of this complex disorder in people (normal weight or overweight) who have uncontrolled high glucose levels. Shocking new finding: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that 40% of Americans ages 40 to 74 have prediabetes, and nearly two out of three Americans over age 65 have prediabetes or diabetes — most likely due to the increasing numbers of people who are overweight and inactive, both of which boost diabetes risk. However, most primary care doctors aren’t diagnosing and treating prediabetes early enough in their patients — often because they fail to order the necessary screening tests. And because the symptoms of prediabetes can be subtle, especially in its early stages, most people are not reporting potential red flags to their doctors. Fortunately, prediabetes can virtually always be prevented from progressing to diabetes if the condition is identified and treated in its early stages (by following a healthful diet, exercising regularly and taking nutritional supplements and medications, if necessary). Being overweight (defined as having a body mass index, or BMI, of 25 or higher) is perhaps the best-known risk factor for diabetes.* The mo Continue reading >>

Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy

Overview Peripheral neuropathy develops when nerves in the body's extremities – such as the hands, feet and arms – are damaged. The symptoms depend on which nerves are affected. In the UK, it's estimated that almost 1 in 10 people aged 55 or over are affected by some degree of peripheral neuropathy. The peripheral nervous system The peripheral nervous system is the network of nerves that lie outside the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). It includes different types of nerves with their own specific functions, including: sensory nerves – responsible for transmitting sensations, such as pain and touch motor nerves – responsible for controlling muscles autonomic nerves – responsible for regulating automatic functions of the body, such as blood pressure and bladder function Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy The main symptoms of peripheral neuropathy can include: numbness and tingling in the feet or hands burning, stabbing or shooting pain in affected areas loss of balance and co-ordination muscle weakness, especially in the feet These symptoms are usually constant, but may come and go. Read more about symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. When to see your GP It's important to see your GP if you experience the early symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, such as: pain, tingling or loss of sensation in the feet loss of balance or weakness a cut or ulcer on your foot that isn't getting better It's also recommended that people at highest risk of peripheral neuropathy, such as people with diabetes, have regular check-ups. Your GP will ask about your symptoms and may arrange some tests to help identify the underlying cause. You may be referred to hospital to see a neurologist (a specialist in conditions affecting the nervous system). Generally, the sooner peri Continue reading >>

Health Problems Caused By Type 2 Diabetes

Health Problems Caused By Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes You need to watch your health and have regular check-ups if you have type 2 diabetes because it can lead to: loss of feeling and pain (nerve damage) - causing problems with sex foot problems - sores and infections vision loss and blindness miscarriage and stillbirth problems with your kidneys Controlling your blood sugar level and having regular diabetes check-ups is the best way to lower your risk of complications. Getting your heart checked You should have your blood fats (cholesterol) and blood pressure checked at least once a year. Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke so it’s important high blood pressure and high cholesterol is spotted and treated early. If you’re already being treated for high cholesterol and high blood pressure, keep taking your medicine. Diabetes also worsens the effects of smoking on your heart. Get help to quit smoking. Loss of feeling You should let your GP or diabetes nurse know if you notice any changes in your body. Diabetes can damage your nerves (neuropathy). This usually affects your feet, but it can affect other parts of your body, causing: numbness pain or tingling problems with sex constipation or diarrhoea Early treatment can prevent nerve damage getting worse. Looking after your feet You should check your feet every day. Diabetes can reduce the blood supply to your feet and cause a loss of feeling. This means: foot injuries don’t heal well you may not notice if your foot is sore or injured These can lead to ulcers and infections. Simple things are important, like: keeping feet clean and dry to avoid infection trying not to go barefoot outside to avoid nicks and cuts wearing shoes that fit well Speak to your GP or diabetes nurse if you notice any changes in your feet, including: cuts, cracks Continue reading >>

Massage And Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Massage And Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

Massage Today October, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 10 You can use your massage skills and talents to work on clients with diabetic and chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathies. The degree of success is dependent upon the stage/severity of the neuropathy, client compliance with their own medical care and the "homework" you give them, and your understanding and use of the correct massage therapy protocol. Neuropathies are characterized by a progressive loss of nerve fiber function. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy or (DPN) can be defined as "the presence of symptoms and or signs of peripheral nerve dysfunction in people with diabetes after exclusion of other causes." This is by far the most common form of neuropathy and one that you are likely to see in your massage practice. Symptoms include pain, tingling, a burning sensation, numbness or loss of feeling, pins and needles feeling and even muscle weakness. This neuropathy usually starts in the toes (in the most distal peripheral nerves) then progresses to the foot, then up the ankle and so on. The hands can be affected in the same way. This condition is almost always bilateral, involving both feet and or both hands. While DPN can involve organs and other body systems, our goal here, staying within our scope of practice, is to normalize function in the feet and hands using appropriate massage therapy techniques. It's important to understand some processes to help hone your skills and to help educate your clients about why it is important to follow their doctors orders. Understanding the why of something often encourages participation and compliance. First, let's look at the condition itself. The feet of a person with long-term or poorly treated diabetes will often look discolored in a mottled pattern, bluish, shiny/tight or sw Continue reading >>

Diabetes Fingers And Numbness: Diabetes Can Cause You To Lose The Fingers

Diabetes Fingers And Numbness: Diabetes Can Cause You To Lose The Fingers

Diabetes fingers tingling and going numb is a sign of nerve damage. The official word is called “Diabetic neuropathy”. What this means is that the tiny nerve ending in the fingers are being affected. The consequences of this is that you may have to have your finger removed. Many with Diabetes fingers have had the finger removed due to the damage to the nerves. Diabetic nerve damage is serious business that can ruin your body. It is important to recognize any pain in the fingers or tingling at the tips as a serious warning sign. Last week we spoke about diabetes feet pain and how many have had the foot removed. This is the same condition with the hands. The nerves are small in the hands and very sensitive, this is where we get our sense of touch from. Diabetes fingers are a sign of serious nerve damage. Those with tingling in the hands are experiencing the first sign that they can lose the finger if the condition is not reversed. What exactly is happening in the body and causing the tingling? The high blood sugar is a damaging force that ruins the cells and nerves of the body. You must think of blood sugar that is high as a poison in the body. It is so strong that it ruins the kidneys and heart. It is absolutely critical to remove this fast. The little tingling in the fingers is a warning sign that the nerves are losing the fight. Diabetes fingers is actually a sign the nerves are dying. The body part is killed off by the blood sugar the circulation dies. The dead fingers have to be removed. Here is our very important article on Diabetes feet that was published last week. It is important that you read both article to fully understand what diabetes does to the body. A dog eat his Owners Diabetic toes ! is SEE HERE on Midland Do not let this happen to your Diabetes fin Continue reading >>

Neuropathy / Numbness

Neuropathy / Numbness

Neuropathy (damage to the nerves) due to diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) is the most common cause of numbness in the feet. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and have experienced numbness or tingling in your feet, it is likely that you have diabetic neuropathy. The condition can also cause burning pain and weakness in the muscles of the feet that interferes with your ability to function comfortably. The greatest danger of extended numbness and lack of sensation is unrecognized trauma to the feet. Damage goes unrecognized because you don’t feel pain (or any sensation) in the affected area. This is especially dangerous for people with diabetes, and can lead to ulceration, infection, and possibly even amputation in severe cases. According to the 2012 National Foot Health Assessment conducted for the Institute for Preventive Foot Health by the NPD Group, 7 percent of U.S. adults age 21 and older (about 16 million people) have experienced numbness in their feet. About the illustration: Nylon monofilament test for numbness or lack of sensitivity in the feet: A 10 gauge nylon monofilament attached to a handle is pressed against the foot at multiple separate locations with just enough pressure to bend the filament. If the person feels the filament at each location, he or she is directed to say "yes." Inability to feel the filament at any of the locations indicates loss of protective sensation in that area. More About Neuropathy / Numbness Continue reading >>

Diabetic Feet - Neglect Means Trouble

Diabetic Feet - Neglect Means Trouble

Diabetic feet need lots of attention, but the truth is we often forget them until they start complaining. For a type 2 diabetic that is a bad thing. You must take care of your feet if you want to avoid serious complications. Why are diabetic feet such a high priority? Most of the amputations related to diabetes are of toes and feet. But the surgeons who do amputations say that over half of them could have been avoided. What makes your feet so vulnerable? The cause is diabetic nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy. The longest nerves in your body run from your spine, down your legs into your feet and end at your toes. This makes them an easy target for peripheral neuropathy, one of the most common complications of diabetes. When the small blood vessels of your feet are scarred and weakened by high blood sugar, nerve damage begins. That's why diabetic feet become either numb or way too sensitive to touch. It's a sign that other complications are coming. Some of the problems you may see in your diabetic feet are foot ulcers, infections, foot and toenail fungus, numbness and tingling, foot pain, and sores that will not heal. The best thing you can do for your feet is to protect them. First, use diabetic socks, the kind that have no seams in the toes and do not bind at the ankles. Your shoes need special attention too. To give your feet real protection, you must choose comfort, support and safety over style. Here's what to look for in diabetic shoes. Dry skin is a symptom of peripheral neuropathy. Do not ignore it. You may spend a little or a lot for foot lotions, but the important thing is to apply them every day. You may not be used to caring for your feet this way. Make it part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth. Some lotions are made especially for diabeti Continue reading >>

What Do Purple & Numb Toes Mean?

What Do Purple & Numb Toes Mean?

Toes that are numb and turn purple are extremely cold toes or the result of an underlying medical condition. If you are having recurrent problems with numb, discolored toes, this needs medical attention. Possibilities If you have poor circulation, this can cause numbness in your toes, which may be accompanied by toe paresthesias. This includes sensations of tingling, burning, and pins and needles. Nerve damage, some diseases and an injury to your toe can also cause numbness, and make your toes change colors. Other Considerations When your shoes fit improperly, this can result in toe numbness. If your shoes are too small, your toes may be repeatedly jamming into the tip of the shoe box, which hurts your toe. In addition, poor fitting shoes can make your feet swell. When you walk, if you curl your toes under, this will result in trauma to your toes, which induces numbness. Peripheral Neuropathy When an individual is a diabetic, or a long-time smoker, this can result in peripheral neuropathy, which can result in numbness in the toes. This condition occurs because the blood vessels are damaged and this leads to damaged nerves. Lupus and Raynaud's A condition called chilblain lupus can cause your toes to turn purplish-blue. Discoloration may also occur on the nose, ears, heels, knees, fingers and calves, according to Dermis.net. This condition is the result of cold-induced microvascular injury, which is provoked by the cold. Another condition that can result in discoloration is Raynaud’s disease, which affects the toes and fingers. Blood circulation decreases in the toes and fingers, which causes the skin to change colors. This can occur due to exposure to the cold or from emotional stress, according to Medical-dictionary thefreedictionary.com. The toes or fingers will fir Continue reading >>

Ignore Warning Signs, Lose A Limb

Ignore Warning Signs, Lose A Limb

For eight years, Jeanne Houtz, who has a family history of diabetes, ignored all the symptoms — visual problems, weird sensations in her feet and blisters that would not heal. The San Diego woman was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 40, but she refused to take her medications or to lose weight. Houtz never realized she was in danger until the bones in her right foot collapsed, causing wounds that eventually led to infection. But attention to this insidious disease came too late, and it finally cost her a leg, which was amputated in 2005. "I know I am the worst person on the planet, acting like this," said Houtz, now 56. "My mom had it, everyone had it," she said. "When I was a young girl, I had an aunt who had it and she was told not to eat brownies. She would crave them and I thought, 'Why does she eat them?' I later realized it's an uncontrollable urge." Houtz is one of 20.8 million Americans who have been diagnosed with diabetes, a disease that is now epidemic and is linked with the increased prevalence of obesity in the United States, according to the National Diabetes Education Program Progress Report 2007. About 6.2 million Americans have the disease, but go undiagnosed. Diabetes Epidemic The total number of people with diabetes in the United States is projected to rise from 17.7 million in 2000 to 30.3 million in 2030, placing the United States third in global prevalence, second only to India and China, according to the report. About 66 percent of all adult Americans are overweight, a major risk factor for type 2 — or adult onset — diabetes. Left untreated or not managed well, the disease can lead to peripheral neuropathy, which can lead to foot deformities and eventually amputation. Today, Houtz listens to her doctor, though at 5 feet, 9 inches tall, Continue reading >>

Diabetic Neuropathy: Preventing And Reversing The Damage

Diabetic Neuropathy: Preventing And Reversing The Damage

Imagine living with the haunting possibility that one day, you may lose all feeling in your feet and that this lost sensation could ultimately lead to ulceration, infection, and even amputation of your unsalvageable limbs. This grim but very real condition is called diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), and according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease 60-70 percent of diabetics suffer some kind of nerve damage. That means as the number of type 2 diabetics continues to spiral out of control, we are facing a growing population suffering from pedal disasters like these. What’s tragic is that with all we now know about diabetes, many of these conditions are preventable and largely reversible when they do occur. To help you prevent DPN or reverse the damage if you are already suffering, in today’s blog I will review some of the issues that lead to the onset of the condition and outline some simple dietary measures and supplements you can take to properly support your feet and reverse the damage. Sadly, these conditions typically begin with one major medical assumption: Diabetes can be controlled by medicine alone. Controlling Diabetes with Medication: Can it Be Done? In my opinion, one of the biggest misconceptions in modern medicine is the assumption that diabetes can be controlled by medication alone. The truth is that it simply can’t be. Somehow our culture has developed this fantasy that people can eat anything they want, do no exercise, and any health complications will be resolved with a few pills or injections. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the surface it may appear that diabetes can be successfully treated with pharmaceuticals. Fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C levels both seem to improve. And while these a Continue reading >>

Diabetes Can Affect Your Feet

Diabetes Can Affect Your Feet

When you have diabetes you need to take very good care of your feet every day. If you do this then you can prevent serious complications. Your feet are at risk because diabetes can cause damage to the nerves and the blood supply. The damage is more likely if: You have had diabetes for a long time Your blood glucose levels have been too high for an extended period you smoke you are inactive There are two types of risk to feet, high risk and low risk. Knowing the risk and taking care of your feet can prevent serious problems even amputation. A doctor, podiatrist or Credentialled Diabetes Educator can carry out an easy and painless check on your feet to determine whether your feet havea low or high risk of developing more serious problems. Low risk feet have normal sensation and good blood flow. However, it is important to know that low risk feet can become high risk feet without symptoms, so regular checks are still as important. People who have had a foot ulcer or amputation in the past have high risk feet. Feet with calluses or deformaties like claw toes also have increased risk if poor feeling and/or decreased blood flow are also present. If you have high risk feet you should have them checked by your docotr or a podiatrist every 3-6 months. In some cases you may be referred to a specialist or high risk foot clinic. The booklet Healthy Feet are Happy Feet is available from Diabetes Australia and is written especially for people with high risk feet. Nerve damage Poor blood glucose control can cause nerve damage to feet. Symptoms include: Numbness. Coldness of the legs. A tingling, pins-and-needles sensation in the feet. Burning pains in the legs and feet, usually more noticeable in bed at night. These symptoms can result in a loss of sensation in the feet which increase Continue reading >>

Peripheral Neuropathy Has Causes Other Than Diabetes

Peripheral Neuropathy Has Causes Other Than Diabetes

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have peripheral neuropathy. I know that people with diabetes often get neuropathy, but I'm not diabetic. What else can cause this condition? And what can I do about it? DEAR READER: Neuropathy is a medical term that means nerve damage. The type of nerve damage that people with diabetes get involves specific nerve fibers in all nerves, particularly the nerves that travel to the legs and feet. (There are other conditions in which a single nerve leading to the legs and feet is pinched, causing pain. An example is what is often called a "slipped disk" or "herniated disk" in the lower part of the spine). The symptoms of peripheral neuropathy include numbness and tingling. Some cases cause burning, shooting or stabbing pain. When the doctor does a physical examination and touches your feet and lower legs with something as light as a feather (like some cotton), you may not feel it. However, you will feel it if the cotton touches your skin in the thigh or elsewhere in the body. You may also lose sensation to a pinprick in the lower legs and feet, but not the rest of you. Diabetes is the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy. But neuropathy can result from other causes as well. These include: -- Excessive alcohol intake. -- Hypothyroidism. In this condition, the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. -- Amyloidosis, a disease in which an abnormal protein accumulates in the body. -- Vitamin deficiencies, particularly vitamin B1, B12 and folate deficiency. -- Critical illness, particularly if you develop a severe inflammatory response to infection. -- Guillain-Barre syndrome. This uncommon autoimmune disorder damages the peripheral nerves. Diagnosing peripheral neuropathy is best done by electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS Continue reading >>

Success Stories

Success Stories

“I’ve been married for 62 years and we have 6 children, all married with families. I like to garden and do lots of preserving and canning. But last summer my doctor diagnosed me with peripheral neuropathy. My condition got continually worse: my feet hurt and got really numb, which spread up into my legs. It’s not just in your feet and legs and hands. You feel bad all over and that slows you down. A neuropathy specialist prescribed medicine that didn’t do any good.Then I tried Realief. The technician just takes that little red light and runs it up and down your legs and feet and between your toes. First they do that for a short time and then they go to the legs, feet and the hands, between the fingers. It’s just a little bit warming. Otherwise there’s no other sensation. It’s comfortable and easy.The numbness gradually went away. One day I got out of bed and I could feel the roughness of the carpet. It is a big difference and it just makes living easier. I feel a lot better when I’m out gardening. One of our daughters told me: “Well you’re feeling good today, I hear it in your voice.” When the doctors say there is nothing you can do about it, now we know there is. I would recommend Realief to anyone with peripheral neuropathy. There is hope” “I’ve been a cattle farmer for 45 years. Five years ago I was diagnosed with cancer, and a side effect of the chemo was neuropathy. After about 6 months it had gotten to where I had no feeling in my feet. They were totally numb. It got to the point I had to use a walker just getting from the couch to the bathroom. The pain at night was almost unbearable, and I would sometimes sneak another pain pill. Otherwise I would find myself just shaking my feet because they hurt so bad. I was disappointed that I wasn Continue reading >>

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