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It is a common occurrence in caring for our loved one as they grow older. In the first place, it is a disease or dysfunction of one or more nerves. Typically, causing numbness, pain, or weakness in different parts of the body. While aging plays a vital role. There are various other factors that play foul in the cause of this disease. Such a type of condition is extremely risky for the elderly. It increases their susceptibility to injuries and falls. 20 million Americans suffer from this illness. It is an uncomfortable disease, but with tender loving care and treatment can be very helpful. The most important thing is to determine, that neuropathy is the result of a serious underlying condition or not. Dealing with this day out and being careful not to irritate the condition any further can cause strain on you, as the caregiver. Here are some great books to help you now.
Different Types of Neuropathy
- Peripheral Neuropathy. Nerve problems that affect the spinal cord. It affects the nerves of feet, toes, legs, fingers, hands, arms, and face.
- Proximal Neuropathy. Nerve damage that produces pain. It affects the upper leg, butt, hips, and shoulders.
- Cranial Neuropathy. Nerve problems that occur from the damaged nerves that exit the brain. It affects the eyes and ears.
- Autonomic Neuropathy. Nerve damage to the nervous system. It can affect the heart, circulation system, digestion, and other organs in the body.
- Focal Neuropathy. Nerve or group of nerves that affect only one part of the body.
Understanding the disease
It is a “disease of the nerves”, that occurs due to damage to single or multiple nerves. Peripheral neuropathy is the most common form of neuropathy. It is a life-limiting disease that occurs due to several factors.
Some of these factors include:
- Family history of neuropathy
- Advancing age
- Alcohol abuse
- Disease conditions such as diabetes, cancer, thyroid dysfunction, kidney disease, or liver disease
- Various medications
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Autoimmune disease
- Toxins and Poisons
- Traumatic Injuries
- Carpal tunnel
- Bell Palsy
Signs and symptoms
Most of the time this is not easy to manage. Although everyone is different and will have different degrees of nerve damage. While we care for our loved ones it is necessary to improve their quality of life. However, before we learn about the various ways to cope with the disease. Let us first understand the various signs and symptoms of neuropathy.
- Pain accompanied by numbness in the hands and feet
- Tingling sensation in the hands and feet
- Weakness in the hands and legs, which causes them to lose balance
- Loss of reflexes
- Sensitive to touch and temperature
- Muscle wasting
- Dizziness while getting up from bed or chair
- Sexual dysfunction
- Difficulty to stand for long periods of time
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Some instance nausea may occur
- digestive difficulty
- excessive sweating
All these symptoms make life difficult for our loved ones while caring for them. Coping with these symptoms and an integrated approach to better manage the disease is important. And will make life comfortable for our loved one.
The risk of neuropathy increases for people who
- Are overweight
- Have high blood pressure
- Are over the age of 40
- Have diabetes
Tips to cope with neuropathy
In addition to pain medications and other pain management therapies. There are certain lifestyle changes that we need to address to cope with neuropathy pain. However, there is one factor that we need to mention here and that is, nerve cells need adequate time to heal. Patients should refrain from supplements. Known as growth factors that claim to fasten the healing process. There is no supplement that can fasten the nerve healing process. And our loved ones should not take these supplements. Nerves will take their own course to heal. During this time the pain may worsen. The new nerves tend to become irritable during that period. This irritation and pain will decrease when the treatment showing the desired effects.
The lifestyle changes that can help your loved one include:
- Install night lights. With neuropathy, there is a chance of falling, especially during the night time. It is necessary to install night-lights in areas where it is dark and your loved one tends to use most during the night. These areas can be the passage to the toilet, or to the kitchen.
- Install grab bars. Your loved one will have an increased tendency to fall without support due to poor balance. It will be necessary to install grab bars in the bathrooms or in rooms where there is a chance to falling.
- Keep the head elevated. Dizziness is one of the major symptoms of neuropathy. And this particularly occurs while getting up from the chair or bed. In order to reduce the dizziness. You should help your loved one keep their head elevated at 30 degrees while sleeping. This will significantly help reduce the effect of dizziness.
- Use specialized utensils for eating. Numbness and tingling sensation in the hands and feet is a classic symptom of neuropathy. This makes carrying out daily tasks such as eating, pretty much difficult. There are specially designed utensils available. To help our loved ones eat with their numb fingers.
- Caution in the kitchen. Your loved one may not be able to feel hot things and can burn themselves.
- Keep feet clean. Wash the feet with warm water and thoroughly dry the feet after washing.
- Keep the house and floors clean. To avoid infection or cuts.
- Protect the feet. Never go barefoot or wear improperly fitted shoes.
- Massage the feet or hands. It will improve circulation.
- Exercise or Yoga. To improve circulation as well.
Medications that help
- Tylenol or ibuprofen. To less minor pain
- Opioids. To relieve severe pain
- Topical cream medications. To relieve stiffness
- Certain prescriptions. To relieve certain symptoms or diseases associated with neuropathy.
Finally, do not allow the disease to take charge of your life. Living life with neuropathy is difficult, but certainly not impossible. You should make your loved one understand that neuropathy is a disease that cannot be cured. But be well managed to a great extent. With medications, therapies, and all the lifestyle changes suggested. your loved one should be able to live a fulfilling and contented life. For more information, check out this website on Neuropathy. Also, check out this post on arthritis. Overseeing this can cause you to stress because you can’t be in 2 places at one time: taking care of your business and taking care of your loved one. Look into hiring some help. This will give you the opportunity to get some rest and also make sure your loved one is properly cared for. Or maybe you want to spend more time with your loved one while taking a break from some of the redundant business tasks like sending out emails, returning calls, or organizing files. Let’s chat about how I can be of service to you so you can take care of your business and your loved one.