If you have lupus, Lyme Disease, Varicella Zoster (aka Shingles), HIV/AIDS, or even Legionnaire’s Disease, you’re probably dealing with some combination of
• Extreme fatigue
• Painful, swollen joints
• Fever and chills
• Swelling in your feet, legs or hands
• Hair loss
These are all symptoms we’re familiar with when we hear about these infectious diseases.
But what you may not realize is that any of these diseases can cause peripheral neuropathy.
If it does, the pain, swelling or even loss of sensation won’t go away on its own. And more than just causing pain, it can be deadly if the wrong nerves are affected.
How Can An Infectious Disease Cause Peripheral Neuropathy?
Many of these infectious diseases are caused by viruses or bacteria. Viruses and bacteria can attack nerve tissue and severely damage sensory nerves. If those nerves are damaged, you’re going to feel the pain, quickly.
The virus that causes HIV, in particular, can cause extensive damage to the peripheral nerves. Often, the progression of the disease can actually be tracked according to the specific type of neuropathy the patient develops. Painful polyneuropathy affecting the feet and hands can be one of first clinical signs of HIV infection.
Any of these viral or bacterial disorders can cause indirect nerve damage and bring on conditions that we refer to as autoimmune disorders. Autoimmune disorders cause the body’s immune system to go on the offensive and attack its own tissues. These assaults by the body on the body damage the nerve’s protective covering. Think of it as “internal friendly fire” – misdirected but potentially serious.
Aside From Discomfort, What Other Problems Could I Have?
You could have serious problems.
If your peripheral neuropathy affects the autonomic nervous system, you could develop
• Blood pressure problems
• Heart rate issues
• Bladder or bowel control issues
• Difficulty swallowing because your esophagus doesn’t function properly
• Heart burn
• Inability to feel sensation in your hands and feet
Beyond being uncomfortable, any of these conditions can cause serious health issues; some can even be fatal.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
If you suspect you have any of these diseases, get medical treatment immediately. The earlier you start treatment, the less likely you’ll be to develop peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage.
One of the smartest things you can do for yourself to head off potential problems is to consult a specialist who treats neuropathy and will recognize problems quickly and act to resolve them. A great place to start is with your local NeuropathyDR® clinician. Your NeuropathyDR® specialist follows a very specific protocol specifically designed to minimize nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy.
In addition to the NeuropathyDR® protocol and specific drug therapies designed for your particular condition, there are a few things you can do to help yourself:
• Get plenty of rest
• Pace yourself and limit your activities
• Exercise regularly – walking and swimming are good exercises for neuropathy patients
• Take care of your skin and limit your exposure to the sun
• If you smoke, stop
• Eat a healthy, well balanced diet
• If you’re a woman, pay particular attention to birth control issues. Any of these infectious diseases can cause serious problems during pregnancy.
Your NeuropathyDR® clinician or other healthcare provider can work with you to design a diet and exercise plan that will help you fight back against these infectious diseases and the long term problems they can cause.
Contact us today for information on the best course of treatment to make sure that once your infectious disease is cured or under control, you won’t carry the burden of nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy.