Neuropathy – What to expect with advanced neuropathy

Neuropathy is nerve damage that affects the peripheral nerves and can have many different causes. The most common type of neuropathy is diabetic neuropathy, where high blood sugar causes nerve damage. However, exposure to toxins, drugs (e.g. chemotherapy), alcohol and nutrient deficiencies can all lead to neuropathy. 

Advanced stages of neuropathy can result in the most extreme and painful symptoms. To manage these painful symptoms, different drug therapies are used to keep symptoms under control. These can range from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs all the way to opioids.

Some individuals are prescribed multiple different drugs to control different pain sources, which can have dangerous side effects. While it is important to keep painful symptoms under control, these strategies do not address the nerve damage that is causing the symptoms.

In advanced cases of diabetic neuropathy, it is possible for injuries to the foot and lower leg to go unnoticed because of a loss of sensation. These injuries can progress to open wounds and ulcers. Because of the poor blood flow to the feet, these injuries can heal very slowly if at all. In the event of an infection, it is very likely that an amputation will occur. In fact, over 70% of amputations occur as a result of diabetic wounds.

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1 comment

Samuelette Wilinski-Schwake

I am discouraged with al the doctors I have seen because they do not pay attention or they disregard neuropathy. Over the years my neuropathy has worsened and still treatment for it prescribed. When I mention a specialist, they appear not to have heard my request. They say they can take care of whatever my problems are but then they do nothing. I have so many health issues that coexist and not much is done. I suffer needlessly. If something had been done earlier, I would not be suffering so much today. Conditions worsen in a 20 year span. Attitudes were different 20 years ago but they still are lurking around and people like me are suffering as a senior when they could have been in better health if the whole person and their conditions were all addressed. I am not a pill shopper, I can’t take many analgesics because of allergies to aspirin and codeine. I don’t remember having a pain free day and while try to stay active, often the pain is so debilitating, I can do very little other than breathe. Why are people like me and me died appropriate health care when we do have insurance and are wanting to have some genuine living experiences that others take for granted. I always try to do and be my best and it is getting harder to practice this. I end up having to fake being well so as not to scare people away. My circle of friends has narrowed because of my illnesses and this is not fair. Life is not fair. However, I still do care enough for myself to want changes to help me.

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