“Doctor, my blood sugar is just a little off–that can’t cause Neuropathy…”
Unfortunately, the reverse is probably true.
Here is reality: Aggressive treatment of both metabolic syndrome and diabetes can lessen the progression and the severity of one of the most common forms of peripheral neuropathy.
We have written extensively about diabetes and metabolic syndrome. We talk often about about how carrying excess body fat impairs our body’s ability to process blood fats and blood sugars.
There’s also really good evidence and multiple clinical studies that show even borderline elevations in the blood sugar over long periods of time make patients more likely to develop peripheral neuropathy.
So how does this slight elevation of blood sugar and blood fats or triglycerides cause neuropathy? Unfortunately, nobody is 100% sure. But there are several good theories.
The most likely explanation is that excess amounts of circulating fats and sugar interfere with your delicate nerves’ ability to take in critical nutrients, including oxygen.
Over a long period time, these can eventually manifest as the tingling, numbness, and burning so commonly found in peripheral neuropathy.
Because it is a well-known fact that patients with metabolic syndrome can likely develop a number of diseases, including heart disease and high blood pressure–as well as peripheral neuropathy—it is critical to attempt to reverse the changes wherever possible.
If frank diabetes develops, it is necessary to treat it as aggressively as possible with minimal side effects. We do know that aggressive treatment of both metabolic syndrome and diabetes can lessen the progression and the severity of one of the most common forms of peripheral neuropathy. But what happens if you’ve done all the right things and your neuropathy persists?
This is the most common presentation we now see in our clinics.
This is because so many more enlightened patients are taking charge of their health by improving their diet and starting to exercise on a regular basis.
And this is how we should all first approach patients with neuropathy and chronic nerve pain.
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Years ago, we called it pre-diabetes. Lately, the common term is Syndrome X. No matter what name we give it, metabolic syndrome is a potentially devastating diagnosis.
I would go so far as to say that metabolic syndrome is the number one most dangerous medical condition challenging our society today.
That’s because so many people start to take care of their diet, exercise, and other self care only AFTER they have been diagnosed with diabetes or diabetic neuropathy. And by then, for so many, it’s a major health crisis!
Metabolic syndrome lies hidden for years, causing damage to multiple major body systems. At our clinics, we see so many patients with diabetic neuropathy and chronic pain related to metabolic syndrome. In fact, it’s the likely cause of most cases of “idiopathic” (cause unknown) neuropathy.
Typically, metabolic syndrome tends to show up as a collection of subtle symptoms many years before a diabetes diagnosis. People with metabolic syndrome will notice a weight increase and thickening of the waist, along with small changes in their blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
The first thing you can do to protect yourself from the ravages of metabolic syndrome is to accept that a 20+ pound weight gain and spreading waistline is not a normal part of aging, and in fact can lead to very dangerous health complications. Being overweight is a risk factor for peripheral neuropathy in addition to many serious conditions, like heart disease.
Your next line of defense is to begin working with a medical specialist who is well trained in diagnosing and teaching you how to treat metabolic syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, and other disorders.
Remember that only you can be an effective health advocate for yourself.
Finally, let us help! There is lot’s of of information here in our library and videos.
Next, be sure to share with your doctor the crucial lifestyle changes you are making that can have a significant impact on your health related to metabolic syndrome and diabetic neuropathy.
Get your copy of our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!
How Do You Keep What You’re Eating From Eating You?
The key is beginning and staying with the NeuropathyDR diet program!
The most common nutrition question we get when patients begin to understand the impact their diet has on overall health is
“What do I eat, and when?”
So, what I’m doing today is to describe a typical day of meals and snacks for a patient who is following the NeuropathyDR Diet, which is simple, easy to modify and add variety to on a regular basis. Controlling body weight and blood sugar levels by diet, exercise and lifestyle has a profound effect on your ability to heal and stay as healthy as possible in so many diseases, neuropathy and other forms of chronic pain.
YOU NEED TO KNOW: More and more research says avoiding or minimizing animal products is crucial to health and longevity but you MUST be sure key blood nutrient levels are monitored!!! At a minimum, before starting care we urge you to let us check your blood count, (CBC), HbA1C, complete urine with microscopic exam, liver, kidney and thyroid function tests, Vitamin D, Folate, B-12, Iron and often B6 and homocysteine levels. DO NOT SELF DIAGNOSE & TREAT without expert guidance. Most of us may also require some supervised daily dietary supplementation.
Let’s start with Breakfast
It is very important to consume some protein within one half hour of arising. The reason for this is that it helps stimulate metabolism, protein synthesis, and mental alertness. It also helps us burn fuel more efficiently. My favorite breakfast is a vegetable protein shake, using a dairy-free protein powder with almond or coconut milk. Another good breakfast is a measured serving of gluten-free granola, taking care to keep carbohydrates between 15 and 20g maximum. You could also use a measured serving of gluten-free steel-cut oatmeal.
No more than three hours later, have a snack again, not exceeding 15g of carbs. This could include one half apple or banana, seven or eight almonds for other nuts, etc… Some packaged protein or nut bars can be fine if the carb content is low.
Lunch should universally be some form of salad or cooked vegetables with protein.
You can mix this up with your favorite greens. You could use baby spinach or mixed greens. Microwaved organic broccoli is high in protein and can be mixed with a few vegan “meatballs”. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, some almonds or walnuts, You can use tofu or tempeh or other pant based protein from vegetarian sources.
No more than three hours later, have an additional snack, along the same lines as your mid-morning.
When dinnertime comes, this is the time to emphasize non-starchy vegetables
Some of the best are cooked spinach, broiled or sautéed asparagus, cabbage, beets, squashes, yams, and sweet potatoes, and so on. Keep starches, such as rice and white potatoes, to a minimum.
Be sure to get in a high-quality source of protein. Again, you could use one of the better vegan alternatives, just be careful of gluten and carb content.
Three hours after dinner, have another small healthy snack. This time, try a few gluten-free crackers with some almond or cashew butter. There are also low carbohydrate gluten-free cookies—just be careful not to eat the entire bag, which is easy to do! Another really good choice to satisfy your evening cravings is a small square or two of unsweetened dark chocolate.
So, what’s NOT here?
Well there is no dairy, cheese, or cows milk yogurt. There is no regular consumption of bread; there are no snack foods, soda, or chips. There are no ice creams or pies for dessert. There are no fruit juices, candy, or other sweets. Plant diets are best!
Consider periodic fasts with your doctors help and consent.
More and more research is showing value in periodic fasts of 8-12 hours and sometimes longer. But you CAN get into serious trouble if you are diabetic or on certain medications.
Do you see where we are going here? The fact of the matter is, poor choice of foods is probably responsible for more ill health and disease than any other single factor in the modern developed world.
The key is beginning and staying with the program. Don’t worry about the very rare weekend, or party. Just always stay trying not to go berserk. Be especially careful during holiday periods.
Most of us should consume half our body weight in ounces of clear liquids, most especially (filtered) water, during any 24-hour period.
Be especially careful not to overdo coffee and tea. Limit alcohol consumption to occasional low sugar wine or beer, and very rarely stronger adult beverages.
Once you make a shift, you will realize how simple, easy, and inexpensive this approach to eating–for all of us.
For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.
Stopping Chronic Pain
Do you know that approximately one fourth of the entire population of United States suffers from some form of chronic pain?
Did you also know that over half of these are related to neuropathic pain, that is conditions like chemotherapy neuropathy, shingles, diabetic neuropathy and genetic neuropathy like CMT?
Of course there are millions worldwide who suffer from painful diseases and conditions like disc herniations, arthritis, failed back surgery, arachnoiditis, fibromyalgia, the list just seems to go on and on. Unfortunately, for all these conditions there is not a one-size-fits-all answer.
Treating chronic pain requires significant expertise and patience on the part of providers.
I have to laugh at the email that’s been going around this week that is the “magic neuropathy cure”. In this video the narrator talks as if all neuropathy is the same and ‘all will be fine if you just purchase this magic pill. It’s so top-secret the government is about to shut it down’.
Definitely reminds me of the snake oil salesman from the 1800s’.
But, you know better and that’s why you continue to read our articles, listen to our radio shows and watch our videos now more than ever before. Over 20,000 NEW patients per month find us on the web and many more are choosing the solutions our clinicians have to offer.
This is precisely because the more they read listen watch they understand that stopping chronic pain requires a team effort. It requires a stepwise improvement in habits, self-care, treatment approaches, medication adjustments or eliminations and so much more! You’re off your clinician stands above the rest, and her focus is only on you and getting you the very best care possible.
If you can’t go to a clinic, you can do telemedicine through your computer or telephone!
These services offered all of our Licensed Clinics!
All you need to do is to stop the cycle of chronic pain by reaching out and letting a true expert guide your way! Let us know how we may help you.
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
Neuropathy and Fructose
Much has been written about consuming processed foods and drinks laced with the sugar known as fructose. But why is this simple product, which is often times billed as all natural food or sweetner such a troublemaker?
Mainly because fructose does not “burn” like other sugars. In fact fructose is only about 60% efficient in converting to simpler molecules. So this means 40% or so fructose gets converted to fat!
This also explains why those who consume the excess amounts of fructose common to modern diets have a very difficult time managing their weight.
The biggest offender of course is soda.
As we’ve written about before there is no reason that anybody with their eye on health or disease prevention should ever be consuming soda. This also includes artificial and calorie free sweeteners in soda, other drinks and foods.
Even a zero calorie soda that tastes sweet to your body WILL still create a weight gain situation!
Fructose can also be found in high amounts in fruits. This is why many people who go on the so called “fruit” diets or drink a lot of fruit juices have a very difficult time controlling blood sugar and losing weight or keeping weight off.
It’s also why our diet plan is carbohydrate controlled and this includes limiting serving sizes of fruits.
Typically, a serving size of fruit would be one half banana, one half or one small apple, pear etc. Generally, berries unless overripe are not so much a problem. Melon, again when consumed in moderation are usually not a problem either.
Remember we are having this conversation about fructose and neuropathy treatment because it is obesity, metabolic syndrome and prediabetes which are at the cause of over 50% of idiopathic cases of neuropathy and these also complicate many forms of chronic pain.
Taming your fructose consumption is just one thing but big thing you can do right now to improve the quality of your life both short and long term!
For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.co