What Is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is also known as peripheral neuritis. Peripheral neuropathy specifically refers to the many conditions that involve damage to the peripheral nerves, which are nerves that offer communication between our brain/spinal cord and the remainder of our body. The nerves may be damaged by a chemical or compressed in a tight space, causing neuropathy-type symptoms. Diabetic neuropathy is something that affects those who suffer from diabetes, this is becaused high blood sugar can cause nerve damage. This may present in a few different ways, Neuropathy on the feet is what we will delve into in this blog post!
Who Gets Neuropathy?
The truth is that anyone can get it, which is why its important for everyone to keep track of their feet health! However, there are some things that make others more prone to it.
- Diabetics (Especially long term or uncontrolled diabetics, as the blood sugar eventually attacks the small nerves in finger tips and toes).
- Cigarette smokers
- Chemotherapy or radiation patients
- Patients with protein abnormalities and/or vitamin deficiencies
- Patients who have been exposed to toxic chemicals
- Alcohol dependence
- Family history of neuropathy
It may be a bit hard to fully understand why diabetics are so prone to suffering from nueropathy. It is strange to think diabetes directly correlates with feet problems. So, lets go in depth so that you may fully comprehend what is happening. When an individual suffers from diabetes, they have uncontrolled high bloor sugar, over time this can cause damage to nerves. This doesn't allow nerves to send signals. The high blood sugar weakens the walls of the small blood vessels that supplies our nerves with nutrients and oxygen. If you are diabetic it is important for you to look out for a number of things; make sure you are looking out for your blood sugar. Get tested for diabetes if your family has a history of it or if you have been feeling symptoms of diabetes. Check for kidney diseases, kidneys can damage the nerves and damged nerves can lead to neuropathy. If you are a smoker, be aware that smoking narrows and hardens your arteries which can reduce the blood flow in your feet.
Falling into one of the categories mentioned above will raise your chances and risk factors of neuropathy, but how do you know you actually have neuropathy? And what are you supposed to do about it?
Let’s make it simple with 5 signs you may have neuropathy:
- numbness, tingling and/or burning sensation
- radiating, nonspecific, shooting pain that wakes you up at night
- inability to detect position of a limb
- loss of reflexes
- weakness and/or muscle cramping
While some of these signs may not be specific to neuropathy alone, it is still important to get it checked out by a professional. Make an appointment with your podiatrist and primary care physician for proper examination, testing, and treatment!
Caring For My Feet..
We mentioned how realted diabetes and food problems are. If issues go unoticed for too long then they become a lot harder to treat. So it is important to ask yourself, what you can do for your feet and not what your feet can do for you!
If you notice sores that do not heal or ulcers, this is a common complication of diabetic neuropathy. So the best ways to avoid complications such as those, having at least one foot exam a year can go a long way. This followed by taking good care of them yourself, will help you!
It is essential that you listen to your doctor advice when it comes to foot care. In order to best protect your feets health there is a number of things you can do. We've always got your feet covered.
First you will want to check your feet every single day. You can do this my inspecting your feet for various things; cuts, blisters, swelling, redness, bruises, and cracked or peeling skin! You can do this yourself, using a mirror, or asking someone you are comfortable with to do it for you. Next, Self- care style your feet! Meaning, wash them every single day with warm water and soap but avoid soaking them. Always remember to dry your feet thoroughly. After you wash them make sure you mosturize your feet so that you can prevent any cracking from happening. Careful with getting lotion between your toes to avoid any fungal growth. Tops and bottom of your feet is all you really need! Give yourslef a mini pedicure by cutting your toenails straight across and filing the edges. This does not have to be done everyday, mostly when you see fit.
Now when it comes to your daily routine you must ensure that you are wearing the approrpiate socks and shoes! It is usually a safe bet to wear cotton socks and cushioned shoes. Your shoes need to feel comfortable, even the slightest uncomfortableness is a problem. If you ever choose to explore this option, our offices sell specially made diabetic shoes!
Do not ignore your feet and if you ever need a little extra help, you can call us at 732-968-3833.