Studies continue to indicate that more and more people are falling prey to diabetes and consequently neuropathy. Other than being the leading cause of limb amputation, here are three more consequences of neuropathy:
- Depression due to painful symptoms:
Burning, tingling stabbing sensation, electric shock, pins and needles are some of the most common painful complaints associated with neuropathy. These symptoms usually lead to lack or disturbance of sleep. Studies have demonstrated that lack of sleep in neuropathic patients leads to long term depression and anxiety.
- Foot ulcers due to loss of protective sensation:
We all know the terrible path of non-healing foot ulcers that consequently lead to cellulitis, osteomyelitis and eventually amputations. It can start as a simple callus to the bottom of the foot, which the patient did not feel or wearing tight shoes for one night to attend a wedding, or a minor cut at a nail salon, all leading eventually to ulcerations.
- Hip fractures due to leg weakness and loss of balance:
One in three people over the age of 65 suffer from falls. Every day, 63 people in the United States die from falls. Neuropathy is one of the leading causes of falls.
I believe we can stop and possibly reverse Neuropathy. With proper podiatric exam, early diagnosis and aggressive non-invasive treatments, we can preserve our patient’s quality of life and literally save their feet. We do not have to throw our hands up and settle for Lyrica and Neurontin.