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Creating Awareness Of Neuropathy: An Invisible Disease

Since neuropathy is something that hits close to home, we’re using the platform that is this marketing blog to address a non-marketing topic to help or support others, as we do from time to time.

We’ll keep this post short and sweet initially, but plan to continue to add to it.

What Is Neuropathy And What Are The Types Of Neuropathy?

There are a number of forms of neuropathy, including peripheral neuropathy (the most common) — often referred to as PN. In fact, we learned after original posting this post, from someone struggling with it, that there is a form of neuropathy called autonomic neuropathy that can impact many, diverse parts of your body and cause unpleasant symptoms and complications related to internal-organ nerve functioning such as heart rate and blood pressure challenges, vision issues, night sweats, digestion and bladder challenges, body temperature regulation and more.

Learn more about other forms of neuropathy.

In layperson’s terms, neuropathy is basically a collection of numbness, balance issues, and prickly, painful, heat-/fire-like feelings that someone experiences in one or several parts of their body. Neuropathy can occur in your hands, feet, and even in your scalp. Yup, your scalp (itchy, crawly feelings at the top of your head can be caused by neuropathy, so if you see a loved one regularly scratching their head, it could be due to neuropathy, not because you’ve got them guessing or they need dandruff shampoo!)

As neuropathy progresses, it can be present 24/7, which can be extremely annoying. So annoying that many people with neuropathy experience depression. It is unknown whether the depression is just another symptom of having neuropathy, or if those living with the condition simply become depressed because of the huge impact it has on their life quality.

Neuropathy is rarely cured, although some instances of cure have been reported. So, a diagnosis can be very defeating to the individual receiving it. It’s harder to stay optimistic and hopeful when you know you might have to live with a health condition forever. There are exercises individuals can do, and particular diets (think anti-inflammatory) one can follow, that can reduce/improve symptoms.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of spammy products, supplements, etc. out there that claim to improve neuropathy, but don’t. Or, they could even worsen it, so be careful about what you pursue to help with neuropathy.

Living With Invisible Disease

What’s particularly disconcerting about neuropathy is this — neuropathy is an invisible disease. It’s usually only a neuropathy sufferer who recognizes neuropathy in another, but neuropathy can make a number of chores and activities very difficult, such as those that require hand dexterity or walking or standing for long periods of time.

Individuals with neuropathy often hesitate to share their diagnosis with friends and family members for two reasons:

  • It’s really hard to explain what it feels like
  • They don’t want others to think they are “crazy.”

What Are Key Causes Of Neuropathy?

Some individuals are diagnosed with what’s called “idiopathic” neuropathy, meaning neuropathy whose cause is unknown, but common causes of neuropathy include:

  • Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation
  • Diabetics
  • Lyme disease
  • Vitamin deficiencies, such as B12 deficiency
  • Thyroid issues
  • Spinal compression
  • Bowel resection surgery

It’s important to determine the cause/source of neuropathy for these reasons:

  • Neuropathy could be caused by an underlying health condition that needs treatment
  • The source of your neuropathy will dictate your treatment plan, and depending on the source, treatment may greatly improve or eradicate your neuropathy

What Can You Do To Support Someone Living With Neuropathy?

  • Offer to help them with a task if you see them struggling
  • Plan activities that don’t require walking long distances (although some walking is considered beneficial, particularly for those dealing with neuropathy in their feet) if you know your loved one has neuropathy in their feet
  • Plan activities that don’t require standing for an extended period of time, such as waiting in a long line at a restaurant or an event
  • Check in with the individual living with neuropathy once in while to remind them that you care and that you recognize they often don’t feel well
    • Give them a pat on the back for “keep on keeping on,” or for being a fighter or “health warrior”
  • Walk, run, etc. in an event that supports neuropathy fundraising and research, or support other neuropathy fundraising events
  • Don’t suggest the neuropathy sufferer just ignore their symptoms — you can’t ignore them!
  • Introduce individuals you know who struggle with neuropathy to each other so they can share ideas and support each other
  • Share this recent issue of the Foundation For Peripheral Neuropathy e-newsletter with them, and suggest they subscribe to it chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.foundationforpn.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/FPN_2024_SpringNews.pdf?blm_aid=7144802305

Revisit This Blog Post About Neuropathy

As mentioned above, we’ll continue to add helpful information to this blog post as we continue to gather it via our own research. Feel free to reach out to gail.moraski@allintheresults.com for support or provide neuropathy information that you believe might be beneficial to our readers!

Need Inspiration To Keep Up The Fight?

Consider joining a Facebook Support Group for Neuropathy — there are a number of them — and check out our “Keep Up The Fight” website page that contains fight songs and inspirational quotes to cheer on anyone dealing with any kind of challenge in their life. E-mail us at gail.moraski@allintheresults.com if there is something you would like us to add to the “fight” page. As humans on the same journey, we are all in this together!

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