Heraclitus said it best when he penned the phrase, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man” (via BrainyQuote). In other words, life is in a constant state of flux, and nowhere is this more evident than the aging process. There are many things we must learn to accept as we get older. But fortunately, peripheral neuropathy doesn’t have to be one of them.
Instead of getting comfortable being uncomfortable, it’s time to help your patients get proactive. Here’s what they need to know about aging versus the red flags of neuropathy.
Peripheral Neuropathy vs. Simply Aging
As we age, specific changes take place. Typical signs of aging include drier, less supple skin. Many people experience increased difficulty hearing and seeing, and bones get more brittle. Some people experience issues with mobility and staying strong due to sarcopenia (aging-related muscle loss). And the heart must work harder as arteries and blood vessels stiffen, increasing resistance to healthy circulation. Some of these physiological developments prove unavoidable, although healthy eating habits and regular exercise can slow their progression.
As for peripheral neuropathy, it does not represent a facet of the normal aging process. Some people liken the loss of sensation with this condition to wearing socks or gloves. This numb feeling results from nerve die-off in the feet and hands. For some, decreased sensation and dexterity only impact one part of the body. But for others, it can afflict multiple areas, resulting in quality-of-life issues. It can also render activities and interests, from enjoying hobbies to carrying groceries, more challenging. Learn more about neuropathy symptoms your patients shouldn’t ignore.
The Progression of Peripheral Neuropathy
Over time, peripheral neuropathy can lead to pain that impacts everyday activities as well as sleep. What causes this condition? It stems from messaging and circulation issues. Without enough blood to critical areas of the body, namely nerve receptors, nerve cells sustain damage as the protective casing around them breaks down. Think of it like a tree that’s not getting enough water. Without early intervention, the damage proves irreversible.
When discovered and addressed, the advance of peripheral neuropathy can be slowed. But diagnosing the condition isn’t simple. Why? Because it can manifest in many different ways and in many different parts of the body. Left untreated, it can progress to the point of no return with debilitating pain that, though manageable, won’t improve.
Don’t Accept Neuropathic Pain
What should you do if you suspect peripheral neuropathy in a patient? Assessment should not only help with diagnosis but also point towards underlying causes. That way, you can get to the heart of the matter, offering the best treatment options available. These options should include high-quality nitric oxide supplementation and an enhanced focus on proper nutrition.
What’s more, when they visit, always test your patients’ nitric oxide levels, a process made simple with handy test strips. Ensuring healthy nitric oxide levels provides a firm foundation for photobiomodulation therapeutics, red and infrared range light treatments that contribute to better circulation and cell regeneration. Find out more about this game-changing neuropathic treatment strategy.