The Best Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment Strategies

If you or someone you love suffers from peripheral neuropathy or chronic pain, I don’t have to tell you how frustrating treatment options can be. You probably also are aware how limited many conventional treatments are. In reality, proper neuropathy and chronic pain treatment requires individualized attention. A haphazard approach just won’t do.

Unless an individualized treatment approach is taken right from the very beginning, and fully implemented, patients continue to suffer the pain, sleeplessness, often needlessly.

That is why the most important thing you can do is to work with a highly competent professional. But you also need to learn everything you can, and take proven action steps that will help improve the quality of your life. That is exactly why we publish the dietary and lifestyle posts every week.

Simply wishing the problem will go away, or masking it’s symptoms without attempting to treat the underlying cause is futile. A combined treatment approach really works best in the long term. The good news is, we now have available more effective and far less invasive treatment strategies for patients with chronic pain and peripheral neuropathy than ever before.

When these are combined with your own powerful self-care program the net result is many of our patients are now experiencing significant improvements in quality of life.

So we encourage you to talk with us, and learn about all the advances in the new technology that more and more neuropathy & chronic pain patients can now take advantage of!

Join our conversation with our staff today on Facebook by clicking HERE!

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Neuropathy Self-Diagnosis and Treatment

Ever heard the phrase “The man who represents himself has a fool for a client?” The dangers of self diagnosis and treatment of conditions like neuropathy could cost you your life.

While the old adage above is applied to the legal profession, the same can be said about patients who attempt to diagnose and treat their own illnesses and injuries. Especially when their symptoms indicate they’re dealing with something that could be serious.

The internet has made it easy for us to research our own health issues and become educated patients  but it has also made it easy to misdiagnose and inaccurately treat those medical conditions. Often from very unqualified information.

Now this may not be dangerous with a common cold, but if you have (or think you have):

–           Shingles

–           Diabetic neuropathy

–           Post-chemotherapy neuropathy

–           Guillian-Barre Syndrome

–           Peripheral neuropathy

You could be doing your body irreparable harm by not consulting a highly trained clinician, for proper diagnosis and treatment.

By researching and treating on your own, you’re wasting valuable time and when you’re dealing with neuropathy or any condition that involves nerve damage, because so often you don’t have time to waste.

The delay in obtaining medical treatment could make a small problem much, much worse.  Once that window for early treatment is gone, you can never get it back.  Treating on your own is an excellent example of being penny wise and pound foolish.

Here are just a few of the things that can happen when you diagnose and treat on your own:

–           You could be wrong about the diagnosis and taking medications that you don’t need.  That not only means that you’re not “curing” yourself, you could be making matters  worse.

–          You could be right about the diagnosis but taking the wrong medications.

–          You could be right about the diagnosis but need prescription medication in the appropriate strength to address your symptoms.

–          You could be putting yourself at risk for serious drug interactions with other medicines you’re taking (especially if you’re taking over the counter medicines and supplements without medical supervision).

–          You could be fixing one problem with over the counter medications but making another problem worse or even creating a new problem.

–          You could be missing the root cause of the problem – particularly in cases of neuropathy.

–          Finally, you could be putting yourself at risk for life theatening damage.

You Need to Seek Professional Care

Treating on your own is a classic example of being penny wise and pound foolish. You may save a little money up front but it’s going to cost you more in the long run when your health care provider has to play catch up and try to fix the harm done by delaying proper treatment.

If you have symptoms of any of the illnesses we talked about above (especially diabetes), it is vital that you seek professional medical care.

Early treatment provided by a specialist familiar and specifically trained with peripheral neuropathy will make it much easier for your body to repair itself and lessen your chance of developing permanent nerve damage as a result of peripheral neuropathy.

Don’t be afraid to ask for our guidance.

Before you try to diagnose and treat yourself, we hope you’ll consider the potential harm you could doing to your body.  And make the right choice – seek professional diagnosis and treatment.

Time is of the essence.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________

For more information on neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

Patients and Doctors are invited to call us at 781-659-7989 at 12:30 EST Monday, Wednesday and Thursday to talk with the next available senior clinician.


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Is The Flu Vaccine Helpful?

It’s that time of year again…

Pre-flu season…

And everywhere you look are signs advertising “Flu Shots – Walk Ins Welcome” or “Get Your Flu Shot Today.”

For the average, healthy person getting a flu shot is a no-brainer.

After all, the flu accounts for 200,000 hospitalizations every year and up to 36,000 deaths.  If you can take a shot and avoid that, why wouldn’t you?

But if you have peripheral neuropathy caused by

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)
  • Shingles
  • HIV/AIDS or some other immune system disorder
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Gluten sensitivity (also known as celiac disease)
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Hereditary neuropathy

You may think that a flu shot isn’t for you.

HIV patients tend to be especially skeptical about receiving the vaccine.

If you have peripheral neuropathy caused by any of these underlying illnesses, you need to make an informed choice about whether or not to get a flu shot.

This is what you need to know.

The Flu Vaccine Will Not Actually Make You Sick

Contrary to urban myth, the flu vaccine will not make you sick.  It works by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies that actually fight the virus. It does not give you the flu.

You also need to know that there is no evidence that the flu shot will make your neuropathy symptoms worse if your neuropathy is caused by any of the underlying illnesses we listed above.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control strongly recommends that peripheral neuropathy patients with any of these illnesses receive a flu shot every year because they’re more prone to developing serious complications if they get the flu.

A Word of Caution for Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP Patients

If your peripheral neuropathy is caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional before you receive the flu vaccine.

Because the vaccine keeps you from getting the flu by tricking your immune system into producing antibodies to fight it off,  if you have neuropathy caused by Guillain-Barre Syndrome or CIDP,  this immune stimulation may actually cause a relapse in patients with a history of either of these illnesses.

If you have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome and the resultant peripheral neuropathy in the past, it might be a good idea to wait at least one year after your symptoms are gone before you receive the flu shot.

If you have CIDP and your symptoms are still present, you might want to avoid the flu vaccine.  Talk to your NeuropathyDR clinician or other medical professional and consider the chances of complications from the vaccine as opposed to the health risks of actually getting the flu.  Take into account:

  • Advanced age
  • Other chronic medical conditions
  • Possible relapse triggered by getting the flu virus

Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you receive the flu shot every year if you fall into any of these groups:

  • You’re six months to 19 years old
  • You’re 50 years of age or older
  • You have a chronic medical condition (lung, heart, liver or kidney disease, blood disorders, diabetes)
  • You live in a nursing home or other long term care facility
  • You live with or care for someone at high risk for complications from the flu (healthcare workers, people in your household (i.e., children too young to be vaccinated or people with chronic medical conditions)

In the end, the decision to get the flu shot or take a pass on it is up to you. Talk to your practitioners before you make your decision and do what’s best for you.

For more information on coping with peripheral neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com

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Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is SO Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need)

Don’t go it alone. Here’s why accepting support from family and friends is so important in treating chronic pain.Fotolia 5256891 XS 300x200 Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is  SO Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need)

Although it may be a shocking idea, your personal support network may be equally as important to your health as your medical treatment team—or any kind of supplemental therapies.

Why? Because the bottom line is that a positive outlook is the best medicine for good health outcomes. If you are feeling contented and supported in your personal relationships, you’ll be much better equipped to cope with pain when it arises.

Unfortunately, many people find it hard to ask for help from their family and friends. We may have heard the message that it was weak or shameful to be dependent on others.

The truth is that when we are able to accept love and support, we’re better equipped to be as independent as possible in our daily lives.

Make a list of people in your life who have helped you in big and small ways in the past, as well as people that would probably be willing to help now if you were to ask.

Now, think about the things that are making your life the most difficult or stressful right now. This list could be anything from a leaky faucet in your kitchen to a pile of medical bills. Just get it all down on paper.

Finally, begin matching the list of stress points with the list of helpers in your life. Who could come over and fix that leaky faucet for you? Who could help you make phone calls to arrange a payment plan for those bills?

You will find that most of the people on your list are grateful for a chance to help you—they just didn’t know what to do that would be truly helpful. And when your stress level decreases (now that the leaky faucet or pile of bills is a thing of the past), your overall health will be optimized. That means chronic pain becomes less of a burden because you’re better able to cope with it.

Building your support network is just one way that you can take control of your own health and overcome chronic pain. Learn more by visiting our Facebook page.

Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is SO Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need) is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Self-Diagnosing Neuropathic Pain is a Dangerous Game

Attempting to Diagnosis and Treat Neuropathic Pain On Your Own Just Delays Effective Treatment (and Could Worsen Your Symptoms)

In some ways, the Internet has been a blessing in terms of the availability of medical information. This can be so helpful if you suspect that you have the flu, or a mild skin rash, or poison ivy.

Where it’s not helpful, and may be very harmful indeed, is when you rely entirely on the Internet for self-diagnosis of serious health concerns related to neuropathic pain—including diabetic neuropathy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, shingles, peripheral neuropathy, or chemotherapy neuropathy.

When you attempt to self-diagnose and self-treat these conditions, you are impeding a truly helpful evaluation by a trained neuropathy doctor that can prevent additional nerve damage and substantially improve your quality of life.

In short, by attempting to treat your own neuropathic pain, you are wasting your health and valuable time—in short, making your condition worse. Early treatment is crucial for the success of eliminating neuropathic pain.

We’ve talked to so many patients with neuropathic pain who delayed seeing a NeuropathyDR® clinician because they wanted to save money. They inevitably tell us that they regret the wasted time and the long-term expense caused by increased nerve damage and all that it entails.

When you are dealing with neuropathy related to diabetes, chemotherapy treatment, and other serious conditions, it’s so important to think long-term. Neuropathy isn’t just an annoying side effect. It is a degenerative condition that will get worse over time and complicate other health concerns.

You may have learned that self-reliance and “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is a good thing. In the case of neuropathic pain symptoms, however, the worst thing you can do is spend time trying to diagnosis and treat yourself.

When we say that self-treatment and home care is important, we’re referring to lifestyle elements implemented over time that complement the medical therapies recommended for you by your NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Self-treatment is an important component of your neuropathy treatment, AFTER a clinical diagnosis. Anything else is just a delaying tactic—one that could severely impact your health, not just today but years from now.

To read more about the diagnosis process and where to go from here with neuropathic pain, take a look at our neuropathy “owner’s manual”: I Beat Neuropathy!

Self-Diagnosing Neuropathic Pain is a Dangerous Game is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Neuropathy Pain Is Serious Business! The Hidden Dangers of Autonomic Neuropathy

Neuropathy Pain Can Lead to Serious and Life-Threatening Nerve Damage. Here’s What You Need to Know for Your Long-Term Health.

You already know that neuropathy pain can significantly impair your quality of life on a daily basis, and in a long-term way. But did you realize that ignoring neuropathy pain can actually contribute to the development of life-threatening illness?

When there is nerve damage to your autonomic systems (the parts of your body that function automatically, like digestion and blood pressure), these systems are likely to stop behaving like they should. This is called autonomic neuropathy, and it can actually threaten your life. Any impairment of autonomic systems is an immediate danger to your health.

When are you at risk for autonomic neuropathy? You should consult a qualified neuropathy physician if you have any of these conditions that are frequently associated with neuropathic pain and damage from autonomic neuropathy:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer that is being treated with chemotherapy
  • AIDS or HIV
  • Lupus

It is also extremely important for you to seek the support of a NeuropathyDR® clinician if you are experiencing any of these nerve damage symptoms:

  • Unusual sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling or numbness in extremities
  • Change in the way you feel sense hot and cold temperatures
  • Sexual problems
  • Loss of ability to control your limbs or fingers and toes

You might also be in a high-risk category for developing autonomic neuropathy related to neuropathic pain if you have had a severe injury or amputation. In these cases, be sure to see a NeuropathyDR® clinician for a consultation now, instead of waiting for symptoms to develop.

There are times when a trained physician can detect nerve damage before any symptoms arise, and early intervention in treatment is key—not just to quality of life over time in terms of neuropathy pain, but also avoiding life-threatening scenarios related to autonomic neuropathy.

For a list of NeuropathyDR® clinicians near you, see Find A Neuropathy Treatment Center.

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2 Essential Components in the Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy

Does Your Treatment Plan Include Manual Therapy and Nutrition Therapy? Read More About This Non-Invasive and Cost-Effective Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy.

It’s our experience that the best results in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy are able to happen when we include two specific non-invasive components along with neurostim treatments and general lifestyle changes. These components appear simple, but they can be very powerful and have nearly immediate results, with improvements compounding over time as the therapies are continued long-term.

The first component is manual therapy. This modality can include many specific approaches, such as stretching, massage, mobilization, and spinal manipulation. These are time-tested methods that have been extremely well researched for many medical conditions, from diabetes to cancer-related neuropathy. Best of all, manual therapy utilizes cost-effective techniques that are minimally invasive, meaning that they are gentle and not intrusive to your body’s own internal healing processes. I believe, like any good doctor will tell you, that you should always try a simpler and less invasive treatment of peripheral neuropathy before resorting to more strenuous methods, such as medication and surgery, that can have serious long-term side effects and impact your quality of life.

The second component in the treatment of peripheral neuropathy is nutrition therapy, which ideally will be customized to address the needs of a specific patient. Our approach includes an extensive patient evaluation done in our office, taking into account your medical history and up-to-date lab work, so that you can be confident you are taking the supplements that are optimum in supporting the medical challenges you are facing. With clinical monitoring, we’ll work together on achieving and maintaining the nutrient levels you need to feel and perform your best in your day-to-day functioning.

Did you know that a nutritional supplement doesn’t even have to come in pill form? Sometimes we recommend that patients use a topical creme to administer certain nutrients through the skin as part of a comprehensive plan for the treatment of peripheral neuropathy. Take a look at our ND ReGen Soothing Topical Supplement Creme.

2 Essential Components in the Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathy is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need)

Don’t go it alone. Here’s why accepting support from family and friends is so important in treating chronic pain.Fotolia 5256891 XS 300x200 Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need)

Although it may be a shocking idea, your personal support network may be equally as important to your health as your medical treatment team—or any kind of supplemental therapies.

Why? Because the bottom line is that a positive outlook is the best medicine for good health outcomes. If you are feeling contented and supported in your personal relationships, you’ll be much better equipped to cope with pain when it arises.

Unfortunately, many people find it hard to ask for help from their family and friends. We may have heard the message that it was weak or shameful to be dependent on others.

The truth is that when we are able to accept love and support, we’re better equipped to be as independent as possible in our daily lives.

Make a list of people in your life who have helped you in big and small ways in the past, as well as people that would probably be willing to help now if you were to ask.

Now, think about the things that are making your life the most difficult or stressful right now. This list could be anything from a leaky faucet in your kitchen to a pile of medical bills. Just get it all down on paper.

Finally, begin matching the list of stress points with the list of helpers in your life. Who could come over and fix that leaky faucet for you? Who could help you make phone calls to arrange a payment plan for those bills?

You will find that most of the people on your list are grateful for a chance to help you—they just didn’t know what to do that would be truly helpful. And when your stress level decreases (now that the leaky faucet or pile of bills is a thing of the past), your overall health will be optimized. That means chronic pain becomes less of a burden because you’re better able to cope with it.

Building your support network is just one way that you can take control of your own health and overcome chronic pain. Learn more by visiting our Facebook page.

Treating Chronic Pain with TLC: Why Emotional Support is Vital (and How to Ask for the Help You Need) is a post from: #1 in Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment

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Do You Have Peripheral Neuropathy?

If you have

Chemotherapy Neuropathy Responds Exceptionally Well To NeuropathyDR Care

Diabetics are not the only people susceptible to peripheral neuropathy in their feet and hands.

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer (and you’re undergoing chemotherapy)
  • Shingles
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Exposure to toxins

 

You have a pretty good idea of what to expect from your disease. Your doctor has probably given you a list of symptoms that you’re likely to experience, if you’re not experiencing them already.

But if in addition to the symptoms you were expecting, you’re having[1]

  • Swelling in your feet, legs or hands
  • Muscle cramps in your legs
  • Changes in your skin and nails
  • Numbness in your feet and hands
  • Inability of feel heat or cold
  • Sleepless nights due to pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Painful burning and itching in your hands or feet
  • Feeling like you’re wearing gloves or socks when you’re not

 

You could be developing another symptom that your doctor might not have told you about.

And it could cause permanent nerve damage.

You could have peripheral neuropathy in your feet and/or hands.

What is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy[2] is a condition that develops when your peripheral nerves are damaged. That damage can occur because of your diabetes, as a result of toxic chemotherapy, nerves being damaged by shingles, a lack of oxygen to the nerves caused by some other underlying condition or even as a result of HIV.

If you have the symptoms listed above, the nerves in your hands and feet have probably been damaged by your illness.

Granted, when you’re dealing with the debilitating effects of diabetes or cancer or HIV/AIDS, peripheral neuropathy may sound like nothing to really worry about.

But you know how miserable it is to have constant nerve pain…to be unable to feel the simplest sensation in your hands and feet…or on the opposite end of the spectrum, to go to bed at night and be so hypersensitive that even the sheets touching your hands and feet is torture.

How Serious is Hand/Foot Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy can be very serious. How many diabetic patients have you seen with amputations below the knee?

Those amputations are usually caused by damage to the circulatory and nervous system caused by their diabetes. Peripheral neuropathy plays a big part in these complications.

Diabetics are not the only people susceptible to peripheral neuropathy in their feet and hands. If you are taking chemotherapy, if you have HIV/AIDS, if you’ve had shingles, or even if you’ve had some other infectious disease, you’re a candidate for peripheral neuropathy.

The damage caused by peripheral neuropathy can be so gradual that you don’t think much about it.

One day you have a small cut on one of your feet. The nerves in your feet are damaged so you don’t really feel it and you don’t know it’s there if you don’t pay really close attention to the condition of your feet.

That small wound becomes infected. Your immune system and circulatory system are compromised so the tissue doesn’t heal properly. Before you know it, you have a serious infection and you lose your foot.

You’re a little less likely to have that problem with your hands simply because you see them all the time and you’re much more likely to notice if something is wrong. That means you’ll seek treatment faster.

What To Do If You Think You’re Developing Peripheral Neuropathy
The first thing you need to do is make sure your treating physician is aware of the problems you’re having with your feet and hands. Then you can take steps to help yourself.

First, find a local medical professional specializing in treating patients with peripheral neuropathy, like a NeuropathyDR® clinician. Make an appointment as soon as possible.

To get ready for your appointment –

  • Make note of what your underlying conditions are
  • Make a list of all medications you take
  • Write down when you first noticed your symptoms
  • Write down all of your symptoms
  • Write down what your typical daily diet looks like

 

Get started with treatment as quickly as possible to avoid additional nerve damage and possibly even reverse the damage that’s already there. Your NeuropathyDR® clinician will work with you to treat your symptoms, adjust your diet if you’re not eating like you should in light of your underlying condition and give you information and help on coping with the effects of peripheral neuropathy.

It’s critical that you seek treatment immediately.

For more information on determining whether or not you have peripheral neuropathy and how to cope with it if you do, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.

[1] http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm
[2] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peripheral-neuropathy/DS00131/METHOD

Exercising Caution With Autonomic Neuropathy

If you’ve been diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy[1], you know you’re at risk for some serious medical issues.

Exercise can help control the symptoms of your underlying illness and by doing that, you can help lessen the symptoms of your autonomic neuropathy.

Autonomic neuropathy (i.e., nerve damage to the autonomic nervous system) can affect every system in the body, especially:

  • Cardiovascular – your heart, blood pressure and circulation
  • Respiratory
  • Gastrointestinal – your digestion, ability to ability to empty your bowels
  • Genitourinary – erectile dysfunction and loss of bladder control

While you’re dealing some or all of these issues, exercise may not be on your radar.

But it should be.

Exercise can help control the symptoms of your underlying illness (whatever caused your autonomic neuropathy) and by doing that, you can help lessen the symptoms of your autonomic neuropathy.

But a word of caution is in order here.

The very nature of your autonomic neuropathy can affect the systems that are most sensitive to the effects of exercise.  Any exercise program you begin should be designed and monitored by a medical professional well versed in the effects of autonomic neuropathy, like your NeuropathyDR® clinician.

Use Vs. Disuse

When you’re thinking about starting an exercise program[2] and you’re thinking about how dangerous it can be, you also need to consider the effects of not starting an exercise program.  The effects of not exercising are called “disuse syndrome”.  If your level of activity seriously out of synch with your level of inactivity, you can develop:

  • Decreased physical work capacity
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Negative nitrogen and protein balance
  • Cardiovascular deconditioning
  • Pulmonary restrictions
  • Depression

The effects of any of these symptoms of disuse syndrome in combination with your autonomic neuropathy symptoms can make a bad situation even worse.

What You Need To Think About Before You Start Exercising

Think about what happens to your body when you exercise.

Your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes labored, you sweat.

Every single one of those results is controlled by the autonomic nervous system.  Autonomic neuropathy can seriously impact how your body responds to the stimulus of exercise.  And your body may not react as it should.

  • Heart rate – If your autonomic neuropathy affects your cardiovascular system, you need to make sure that your exercise program is designed and monitored by your NeuropathyDR® clinician. Your autonomic neuropathy can lead to abnormal heart rate, inability to properly regulate blood pressure and redistribution of blood flow.  Your cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy may cause you to have a higher resting rate and lower maximal heart rates during exercise.
  • Blood pressure – Blood pressure response with posture change and during exercise is abnormal in patients with cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy.  Postural hypotension, defined as a drop in blood pressure may be seen.  This can mean that the blood pressure doesn’t react normally during exercise.  Symptoms are similar to hypoglycemia and may be mistaken for a drop in blood glucose even though it’s actually a drop in blood pressure.  Patients should be alerted to the potential confusion in these symptoms and instructed to check blood glucose before treating for hypoglycemia.
  • Sweating and Disruption of Blood Flow – Autonomic neuropathy may reduce or even eliminate your ability to sweat.  The loss of sweating, especially in your feet, can cause dry, brittle skin on the feet and you can develop skin ulcers.  It can also make it more difficult for your body to respond to cold and heat. You need to make sure that you’re taking proper care of your feet before and during any exercise program.  Make sure your shoes fit properly and examine your feet regularly to make sure you don’t have any sores, cracks or ulcers.

Autonomic neuropathy can have a serious effect on the very systems in the body that are directly affected by exercise.  Make sure you talk to your local NeuropathyDR® clinician before you start an exercise program and let them monitor your progress.

For more information on coping with autonomic neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.