How Diet Can Affect Neuropathy

Do you feel pain or tingling in your feet or hands? Does even the weight of a blanket cause your arches to burn? You could be suffering from neuropathy. Dr. Shayya is a neuropathy specialist who will create a custom plan to treat your condition, including reviewing your diet and how it can affect neuropathy.

What is neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy can appear when your peripheral nerves (nerves outside the spinal cord and brain) become damaged from injury, illness, or toxins. Your peripheral nerves send information from your brain and spinal cord throughout your body, including the central nervous system. When the nerves are damaged, you can experience muscle weakness, pain, and numbness in your hands and feet. Sufferers often describe the pain as burning, stabbing, or tingling.

Neuropathy can cause a lack of coordination, paralysis, and heightened sensitivity to touch. Sometimes even the weight of a blanket can cause pain in your feet if you suffer from neuropathy.

Here are some causes of neuropathy:

  • Diabetes
  • Traumatic injury
  • Metabolic problems
  • Genetics
  • Toxin exposure
  • Tumors
  • Bone marrow disease
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Chemotherapy
  • Vitamin B deficiencies or excesses
  • Alcoholism

Ways to treat neuropathy

The best to treat peripheral neuropathy is to treat the underlying conditions that cause it (if the conditions are treatable). If diabetes is the cause, then medication and lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise are recommended. Your neurologist may also prescribe pain relievers, anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, and topical treatments.

Surgery, physical therapy, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) are popular neuropathy treatments.

How diet can affect neuropathy

Your nerves, like the rest of your body, depend on proper nutrition to function properly. What you eat and drink can either help or hurt your nervous system. 

Dr. Shayya will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your neuropathy, including your diet, which could be causing vitamin deficiencies and excesses, and toxicity.

Diet alone may not cure your neuropathy. But you can help your condition by taking the following nutritional precautions.

Control your blood sugar

The high blood glucose levels of those with diabetes are a major cause of neuropathy. If you have diabetes, limit sweets and carbohydrates. Choose fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

Watch your vitamin intake

Too much or too little of certain B vitamins can cause neuropathy. Be sure to eat enough vitamin B12, which is abundant in eggs, poultry, meat, and dairy. You should limit your vitamin B6, which in excess can be toxic to nerves.

Avoid foods that could contain mercury

Seafood, which may seem like a healthy choice, can contain high amounts of mercury, which can cause or contribute to neuropathy. Limit your fish and seafood consumption to 8 ounces per week, according to FDA guidelines.

Dr. Shayya can evaluate and treat your neuropathy. For a consultation, call the office at 480-378-0067, or schedule an appointment online.

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