Why Treating Neuropathy Could Save Your Life
With diabetes, high blood sugar can damage your nerves, causing neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy is painful. It leaves your feet numb, tingling or with shooting pain. Many providers have a hard time treating neuropathy. But in our Spring and Tomball, TX podiatry practices, we can treat neuropathy. And we have many different treatment options.
Just ask Debra R, who recently shared, “Dr. Walsh was wonderful. She had the patience to hear all about the separate problems with my feet. I’m apparently a textbook case of diabetic neuropathy. I didn’t understand that all of my issues are due to diabetic neuropathy and poorly fitting shoes. She gave me a script for diabetic shoes so I immediately went to get them. Also, she suggested over the counter cream for neuropathy pain. It just became an over the counter medication. I have tried at least 4 or 5 other creams that haven’t helped the pain and from last night’s results this one will help a lot.”
Now, we love neuropathy success stories like Debra’s, because it means we offered pain relief. But, thanks to a new study, we know that treating neuropathy is important for more than just your comfort. In fact, treating neuropathy could actually save your life. But, before we explain why, let’s explore some of the causes of neuropathy.
Causes and Symptoms
Neuropathy results from nerve damage. But nerve damage can result from many different causes. One of the most common we see in our office is diabetes. Your diet can also contribute, since calorie-restricted diets and vitamin B12 deficiencies can both lead to nerve and circulation troubles. Chemotherapy treatments and certain diseases, infections or injuries can also cause neuropathy.
Symtoms usually include numb feet. But some neuropathy sufferers also describe tingling and burning pain. Or a combination of all three symptoms. So, clearly, neuropathy is unpleasant. But why is it life-threatening? Let’s find out together.
In December 2020, the Annals of Internal Medicine printed a neuropathy study. It found that neuropathy increases Americans’ death risk. Even worse? It found out that was true even if neuropathy patients didn’t have diabetes.
Now, to get those results, researchers followed 7137 study participants. (All participants were over the age of 40.) And what did they discover?
Well, it turns out that a neuropathy diagnosis increases the risk of all causes of death by 13.5%. And, for patients with diabetes? Neuropathy particularly increased the risk for death from cardiovascular disease.
As a result, study authors recommend screening all older adults for neuropathy. Even before symptoms such as numbness, prickling or tingling show up in your feet. And long before that discomfort becomes burning or throbbing pain. Or makes your feet sensitive to touch.
Of course, not every doctor can screen for neuropathy. But our expert podiatrists can do just that. Because, at Louetta Foot and Ankle Associates, we have state-of-the-art neuropathy screening technology. And here’s how we use it to screen your feet, and possibly save your life!
Diagnosing and Treating Peripheral Neuropathy
Our podiatrists use a computerized sensory test to look for nerve damage in your feet. When you come into our office with neuropathy symptoms, we will screen you for loss of sensation. Then, if we notice neuropathy, we can begin talking about your treatment options.
Non-Surgical Neuropathy Treatment
As our patient Debra mentioned, we can offer pain relief for neuropathy in several ways. First, we’ll look at your foot wear. In some cases, prescribing diabetic foot wear can help relieve some neuropathy symptoms.
We can also recommend creams and supplements to reduce some of your nerve pain. In some cases, we may recommend MLS laser treatment for neuropathy. Because studies on MLS laser treatment explored its results with neuropathy. And found it can improve foot sensation for people with neuropathy.
Of course, these neuropathy treatments won’t work for every patient. But, that doesn’t mean there’s no hope. Because we’re one of the few podiatry practices that offer another neuropathy treatment. And that’s a special surgery to relieve neuropathy pain.
Surgical Treatment for Neuropathy
Sometimes, compressed nerves contribute to neuropathy pain. So, when that’s the case, our doctors can offer surgical pain relief. Unlike many surgeons across the country, we offer peripheral nerve decompression.
It takes extensive training to perform this surgery. But, when done properly, it takes pressure off the nerves in your feet. After, most patients report less pain—and increased foot sensation.
In turn, this procedure reduces your risk for diabetic ulcers. Now that’s a big deal, since ulcers are a leading cause of diabetic amputation. Which means this is another way that treating neuropathy could save your life.
Remember, this information means two things. Ignoring neuropathy symptoms could be deadly. And treating neuropathy could be life-saving. (Not to mention, it’s one of the best ways to relieve nerve pain.)
Ready to put neuropathy pain behind you? We’re here to help! Schedule a consultation with our podiatrists today. We’ll test you for neuropathy. And then recommend the best treatment options to give you relief!