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Dec 022013
 

People with peripheral neuropathy have very distinctive foot health concerns. Whether you have neuropathy in the feet due to diabetes complications or any other reason protecting your feet in the home is of the utmost importance.

When you go out of the house it’s advisable to wear special shoes and socks to better manage neuropathy symptoms but even in the home it’s best to wear properly fitting slippers to both protect your feet from damage and to minimize any discomfort.

I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site the importance of diabetics actually diabetic shoes to minimize the chances of developing foot ulcerations that can become infected and the folks over at Diabetic Slippers Etc. do a good job of describing what kinds of needs diabetics have around the home.

For those with neuropathy the requirements for shoes and slippers is fairly similar.

Neuropathy patients sometimes have poor circulation and if you can prevent open wounds then you don’t have to worry as much about festering wounds and infection.

For some people with neuropathy a nagging irritation in the foot is omnipresent. It is therefore equally important to wear properly fitting shoes or in this case slippers so that true irritation is not as likely to occur.

In most cases slippers with wide foot beds and adjustable straps can ensure the best fit possible for the most amount of people.

You don’t want to wear slippers that rub against you due to them being to loose in certain spots but you also don’t want to wear slippers that are too tight either.

I tend to recommend the Physician slipper from Foamtreads more often than any other due to it’s ability to fit just about anyone really well.

You can see this video describing the Foamtreads slipper and do be sure to see the following video where a group of doctor’s are treating peripheral neuropathy and seeing some success in repairing nerve damage.

May 312011
 

Neuropathy in feet is commonly associated with diabetes. Diabetic foot neuropathy manifests as a complication of long-term diabetes, or more specifically with the presence of chronically elevated blood sugar levels which is commonly found in long-term diabetics.

Neuropathy is not only found in the feet but it is typically identified in the feet before other areas of the body. Many diabetics suffer from diabetic neuropathy in various parts of the body such as the legs, feet, arms, and hands as well as some other areas. Most commonly neuropathy is found in these areas because the nerves leading to these areas of the body are the longest. As glucose levels in the blood remain high for years at a time damage to these nerves can result in neuropathy.

Neuropathy in the hands, arms, and legs is usually less frequent then neuropathy in feet because the nerves to the feet are longer and are thus more susceptible to damage and disrepair. When diabetic start developing neuropathy in their legs and feet some will experience a tingling or a slight to moderate amount of pain but typically diabetic neuropathy symptoms do not include pain. In fact, most people who start developing neuropathy in the feet feel the opposite; they feel no sensation at all.

Why Diabetic Foot Neuropathy Is So Serious

It may be easy to rationalize that diabetic neuropathy in the feet is not serious if it doesn’t result in pain but that would be a mischaracterization. Foot neuropathy due to nerve damage is quite serious because it leaves you vulnerable to foot injuries which would otherwise be avoidable in most people who do not have neuropathic complications.

If for instance you have foot neuropathy and you cannot feel sensation in your feet then you wouldn’t know that you are developing a blister on your feet from a long day of labor or walking. You may not realize that you have a pebble in your shoe causing friction against your skin if you have diabetic neuropathy of the foot. You may not realize that your foot is too tight in your shoes.

Many people start their day by putting on their shoes and never thinking twice about their feet again until they remove their shoes at the end of the day. Having said that however most everybody with normal sensation in their feet will always stop to adjust their shoe for tightness, remove a pebble or foreign object from their insole, or take a seat when a blister begins forming. People with normal nerve sensations will always favor a foot if it is irritated. This is a defense mechanism which helps keep our feet healthy.

In diabetics experiencing neuropathy in the lower legs and foot region these adjustments do not happen because the person does not realize there is a problem. As a result many diabetic get foot injuries they would never have developed otherwise. Neuropathy doesn’t cause these injuries but it makes you much more likely to develop them through normal day to day activities.

Risks Of Untreated Diabetic Neuropathy In Feet

Still you may wonder why this is such a big deal. These are small injuries that heal quickly you may contend. This may be the case if you have normal blood flow in the region but in many people with diabetes this is not the case. Not only do elevated blood sugar levels cause damage to the nerves but it also damages many of the small arteries and capillaries in the far reaches of your extremities. Circulation problems often develop in the fingers toes, hands, and feet of many diabetics which can make any small injury in these areas difficult to heal and at risk for infection. There is a reason why most amputations are performed on diabetics; as these small injuries occur they are coupled with a circulatory system which is not capable of fighting off infection and healing the injury. Small cuts, blisters, and puncture wounds can easily get infected, grow into festering wounds or ulcers and then threaten the surrounding bone and blood.

If you have diabetic neuropathy you need to understand this and you need to take appropriate steps to prevent it or stop it from worsening. It’s arguable that reversing neuropathy in feet is possible but some would contend that by making significant changes to your lifestyle you can heal damaged nerves bringing some sensation back to your feet.

Before you get to this stage however you should read more on how to prevent diabetic neuropathy, how to treat diabetic neuropathy, and learn about what types of foot care products can help you live with neuropathy in the feet. There are many different shoes for diabetic neuropathy which are worth buying as well as diabetic neuropathy socks. In addition to the aforementioned blog posts make sure to read more on diabetic foot neuropathy symptoms and the treatment for diabetic neuropathy. Take this condition seriously because as many diabetics know, activity is the best way to help mange blood sugar levels and it can be hard to stay active with foot injuries.

May 312011
 
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There is presently no way to cure diabetic neuropathy. However, a patient who has it should undergo treatment to keep their condition from getting worse. Staying at a healthy weight and exercising are essential factors in how to treat diabetic neuropathy.
Initial Treatment

The first stages of treatment for diabetic neuropathy will depend on your type of neuropathy and its exact symptoms. Usually, the treatment involves reducing current neuropathy symptoms by keeping the blood sugar at a normal level. This can be done by taking prescribed medicine, regularly checking your blood levels, exercising, having a healthy diet, and regularly seeing your doctor.

Taking care of the feet is vital for patients with diabetes. Since this condition results in loss of feeling in the feet, an infection could easily go unnoticed. Without proper care, a small sore can become a large infection and eventually require amputation.

Medicines To Treat Neuropthy

Medicine will not cure the problem, but it can make the symptoms more manageable. Creams and pain relievers are often prescribed by doctors to reduce discomfort for diabetic patients. Sometimes a doctor may prescribe a medicine that is used for treating depression, such as duloxetine hydrochloride or tricyclic antidepressants. The medicines can reduce pain even if you are not suffering from depression.

Ongoing Treatment For Diabetic Neuropathy

For ongoing treatment, patients will need to ensure that their blood sugar level remains within a narrow target range. You will need to limit alcohol, avoid smoking, exercise regularly, and see your doctor often. If the condition gets worse, you may face severe complications such as foot problems requiring diabetic shoes and socks to treat, bladder infections, and gastroparesis each requiring their own treatments.

Diabetes can greatly increase the risk of foot ulcers. Charcot foot is another common condition, which results in disfigurement in one or both of the feet. Surgery may be the only solution for correcting deformed joints that may lead to Charcot foot.

Severe gastroparesis may require medications that empty foods in the stomach quickly. Prolonged bladder infections and other problems will require further treatments and testing. Medications are usually enough for treating problems with digestion, so surgery should only be used as a last resort.

Alternative Treatment Therapies

Therapies like acupuncture can be very beneficial for patients with diabetes. Although it will not remove the condition, it can help patients deal with the pain. Other good physical therapy choices are massage, stretching, and targeted exercises. Avoid using ice or intense heat on your body because neuropathy will make it difficult for your skin to feel the temperature change.

Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for diabetic neuropathy. Your doctor will need to try out several combinations to find something that works for your body type. Work together with your doctor to find the perfect combination of medicines and other treatments for your condition.

May 312011
 
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Diabetic neuropathy is a disorder that results from nerve damage caused by diabetes. Over time, people with diabetes can develop this condition in various areas of the body. Certain individuals with nerve damage are asymptomatic, meaning no overt symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are manifested, while other people may experience symptoms such as numbness, tingling and pain in the legs, feet, arms and hands. Nerve problems can also affect organs such as the heart and those of the digestive tract. Treatment for diabetic neuropathy includes medication, physical therapy and sometimes even holistic treatments.

Risk Factors for Neuropathy

Up to 70 percent of individuals with diabetes experience some type of neuropathy and the risk of developing the condition increases with the duration of the diabetes. The greatest instance of neuropathy is among those who have been diabetics for 25 years or more. Diabetic neuropathies also appear more frequently in those with high blood pressure and those with high levels of fat in their blood. The condition is also quite common in obese individuals.

Treatment for Diabetic Neuropathy

There is no known cure for the condition and its treatment varies depending on the type of neuropathy one has, as well as his or her individual symptoms. Most treatments for preventing diabetic neuropathy focus on controlling the manifestation of symptoms and preventing them from getting worse. The best way this can be accomplished is by keeping the patient’s blood sugar levels within a specific range through the use of insulin or oral or medications. Adhering to the appropriate diet has also been shown to help control the symptoms associated with diabetic neuropathy.

Medication

Medicines such as topical pain relievers or oral analgesics can be used to relieve the discomfort and pain associated with neuropathy, remedies can typically be purchased over the counter at most drug stores. Prescription medicines are also frequently used, especially for those who experience considerable pain and burning as a result of their condition. Medications such as naproxen, Daypro, meloxicam and cyclobenzaprene are frequently prescribed for pain, while anti-seizure medications such as Lyrica and Neurontin are often recommended to treat the tingling and burning associated with the disorder. In some cases, antidepressants such as Cymbalta are used to treat diabetic nueropathy. This is considered “off-label” use, meaning the medication is prescribed to treat a condition for which it was not originally intended.

Alternatives to Medication

Physical therapy including stretching and other exercises can be very helpful in alleviating symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. However, if heat and ice are recommended care must be taken to ensure burns do not result, as the numbness associated with diabetic neuropathy can make it difficult to notice changes in temperature. A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machine -TENS machine – is often very helpful in eliminating neuropathic pain as it blocks the nerves that transmit pain impulses.

Alternative treatments for diabetic neuropathy are also viable options for certain individuals. These include herbal remedies such as feverfew and blue vervain, as well as holistic treatments such as acupuncture or massage. Such remedies have not been well researched; however, there are some studies that show they may have merit for certain individuals. As always, it is vital that one speak to his or her health care provider before using any alternative treatment for diabetic neuropathy.

May 312011
 
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Diabetic neuropathy refers to nerve damage done to one or more body parts due to diabetes. Diabetic neuropathies are classified according to which area of the nervous system they affect. The most common classifications include sensorimotor, which is responsible for either numbness or painful sensations when moving, cardiovascular autonomic, which can lead to numerous heart diseases, and gastrointestinal autonomic neuropathy, which results in loss of control over bowel movement.

People with this disease often suffer nerve disorders because of exposure to several factors, such as fluctuating blood glucose levels, low amounts of insulin in the bloodstream and abnormal blood fat levels. Another major cause of this is lifestyle. Those who live a sedentary lifestyle are more prone to catching neuropathy than those who engage in exercise and sports.

The best way to prevent diabetic neuropathy is by keeping a close eye on one’s blood sugar. Spikes and swings in blood sugar levels do a lot of damage to the nervous system. This is also true for sugar levels that are chronically high. Different measures can be taken to ensure that blood glucose levels are kept as close to the normal range as possible. By doing this, you can not only reduce the risk of diabetic complications, but also improve on your overall fitness and well-being.

It is essential to consult a doctor or a diabetes expert. Regular and thorough examinations, including foot examinations, help ensure that your body is well regulated and kept in check. In addition to this, ask a dietician to prepare a diet plan for you, which minimizes the fluctuations in your blood sugar. A good rule of thumb is to avoid eating foods rich in saturated fats, salts and sugar and going for those high in fibers, vitamins and minerals instead. Some lifestyle changes might also be necessary as alcohol and smoking can seriously affect your blood sugar levels.

Physical activity is very important in avoiding neuropathy. Exercising increases blood flow and circulation. To a certain extent, it can help regenerate nerve cells while promoting healthy blood sugar levels as well. There is a wide array of enjoyable options available for those looking for exercise programs. Strength training is good for those looking to bulk up and build their muscles. Yoga exercises have been shown to slightly improve nerve regeneration. However, one must always be careful as too much intense physical activity can only worsen one’s condition, especially for those suffering from certain heart conditions. Be sure to check with a doctor to find out which exercises are appropriate and make sure to wear appropriate footwear such as diabetic socks and diabetic shoes.

Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most dangerous complications brought about by diabetes. If left unchecked, it can lead to permanent nerve damage, and eventually, death. It is, therefore, vital to prevent it, before it can begin.

May 312011
 
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Diabetes causes problems that reveal themselves in many ways. These include circulatory system problems. Issues with the circulation can cause other problems, such as diabetic neuropathy, which is damage to the nerves stemming from poor circulation. Nerve damage from diabetes often manifests itself in the feet.

Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic foot neuropathy symptoms include a loss of feeling in the feet, sores and infections on the feet, sharp pains, and extreme sensitivity to anything touching the feet. In minor situations, controlling blood sugar levels and proper foot care including wearing good socks for diabetic neuropathy as well as diabetic shoes alleviates those symptoms. Proper care includes applying lotions, grooming the nails and wearing loose-fitting socks.

In severe cases, the foot will darken, and the skin will become dry and scaly. The foot may even die, so to speak, because of the lack of blood flow. This often calls for the most drastic treatment to keep the symptoms from progressing farther up the leg. Unfortunately, the foot may have to be amputated.

Diabetic Neuropathy Prevention

Before the neuropathy ever progress to the point of losing a limb, a diabetic patient should take preventative measures. These include changes in lifestyle and may involve medications. Even medications can be avoided if the lifestyle changes are made early enough.

In many cases, people can avoid diabetes altogether by losing weight, eating a proper diet and exercising. Some people get tired of hearing that, but doctors are getting more adamant about it. At the risk of sounding harsh, it is better to use your feet to exercise now than to lose a foot later.

Losing weight is possibly the most important factor in prevention, and proper diet and exercise can take care of it. According to experts, a weight reduction of as little as 10 percent can ward off diabetes. For a 200-pound person, that is only 20 pounds.

A proper diet is a sensible diet, one that is low in fats and low in simple sugars. The easiest way to adhere to this kind of diet is to avoid fast foods, and to do your grocery shopping around the outer aisles of the store. That is where you will find fresh fruits and vegetables, and fresh meats. The middle aisles are where you find the offenders such as high-sodium prepared foods in cans and packages.

For most people, getting the exercise is simple enough. Experts recommend a brisk walk three to five days per week. It must be brisk enough to raise the heart rate. This helps to strengthen the circulatory system, burn calories and boost the metabolism. Just keep in mind that every pound lost is 16 ounces of prevention.

May 312011
 

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Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes that is not uncommon; however, it is serious and care must be taken to prevent its occurrence whenever possible. Symptoms include pain, tingling and numbness, the latter being the most dangerous symptom as loss of feeling can lead to injuries of which the person may be unaware. Diabetics often suffer from this condition in their feet and it can easily lead to blisters on the skin, which has the potential to become large, dangerous ulcers.

Choosing the appropriate socks is an essential part of good foot care, especially for diabetics. Socks for diabetic neuropathy are loose fitting and thick and are typically manufactured from highly breathable material. Diabetic socks are made in such a way that the feet are not unnecessarily constricted. Many also feature padding on the soles and are manufactured without seams. The purpose of diabetic socks is to minimize chafing and restriction and therefore prevent the aforementioned complications.

Types of Diabetic Socks

Diabetic socks can be found in a variety of different materials. Many physicians recommend cotton or wool blend socks, while others suggest that acrylic socks make a better choice due to their wicking action. The socks selected should fit properly without being tight at the cuff. Many types have extra padding, which can help those who are at a high risk of ulcer development. Lighter colors are recommended, as they will not obscure the signs of a draining wound or a puncture from a foreign object.

Traditional socks typically feature prominent seams, especially in the area of the toe. Such seams can be irritating to a diabetic’s foot. Diabetic socks are usually entirely seamless or have minimal seams and feature non-binding tops. These characteristics provide better circulation for the wearer’s legs, which is one of the areas commonly damaged by diabetic neuropathy.

How to Shop for Diabetic Socks

When searching for diabetic neuropathy socks one must weigh the claims of various retailers and online vendors. Some manufacturers claim amazing results concerning their products, which can make it difficult for one to make a decision. Reading customer reviews is very helpful in this regard as one can get the opinion of those who have used the products of certain vendors and can offer unbiased opinions.

Medical Research

Examining scientific research is also essential to making the appropriate choice when shopping for socks for diabetic neuropathy. According to a study released in 1989 by Doctor A. Veves, thicker socks when worn with proper shoes for diabetic neuropathy decreases the incidence of foot ulcers in those suffering from diabetes. The study also concluded that high density socks were an excellent choice for those suffering from diabetic neuropathy. In addition, evidence suggested that thick, padded socks were helpful in keeping moisture away from the skin due to the extra cushioning they provide. With the wide variety of diabetic socks on today’s market, it should not be difficult for a person to find the ideal brand. However, those who need help with choosing a suitable pair should consult their doctor or podiatrist.

May 272011
 
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It can be a shock when the doctor first tells you that you have diabetes. Diabetes is a disease where your body cannot produce or use insulin as needed to control blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, you may be required to take insulin or other medications to help control your blood sugar.

You certainly will be asked to modify your diet and stay away from sugar and too many carbohydrates. Your whole lifestyle may need to change when you have diabetes because if not controlled, diabetes can have serious and even fatal consequences.

One of the serious side effects caused by diabetes is diabetic neuropathy. Diabetics often develop the condition that causes nerve damage. The first signs of diabetic neuropathy are usually a slight tingling feel in the extremities. The patient may notice a lack of feeling in his or her feet as well as in their hands and fingers. In some cases, when the neuropathy has advanced beyond the initial stages, a patient will have absolutely no feeling in their feet.

There are special shoes for diabetic neuropathy that your doctor or podiatrist can prescribe for a patient suffering from the nerve condition. Patients will be fitted with custom shoes that help with balance and also provide the proper support for the feet.

Someone with diabetic neuropathy may not be able to feel the ground beneath their feet and can easily cut or injure their feet without ever knowing it. It is very important to visually examine your feet on a regular basis if you are diabetic and have some form of neuropathy.

Shoes for diabetic neuropathy can be made to correct conditions such as improper arch support or putting too much weight on the wrong part of the foot. A podiatrist or other foot specialist can look at your feet and see where you need help the most.

Getting shoes for diabetic neuropathy involves a special fitting. You will be asked to step into a small box filled with foam and make an impression of your foot. You then repeat the process for the other foot. The 3 dimensional molds along with some physical measurements of your foot are sent off to a company that specializes in making custom shoes for patients with diabetic neuropathy.

In about 2-4 weeks, your shoes should be ready and the doctor will call you in to the office to try them on. If they fit comfortably, then you are done. If not, problems will be noted and the shoes will be sent back to be reworked until they are correct.

Shoes for diabetic neuropathy come in various styles. There are sneakers, loafers and even dress shoes made for those needing the special custom shoes. Shoes for diabetic neuropathy are quite expensive, but fortunately, most of the expense is covered by insurance. If you have been diagnosed with the nerve condition, you probably should inquire about a new pair of shoes for diabetic neuropathy.