Peripheral neuropathy, a condition stemming from damage to the peripheral nervous system, can be uncomfortable, if not painful. These altered nerves might be the result of physical injury or disease and can leave you with numbness, pain, or loss of control of muscles throughout the body, among other side effects. While you’ve probably seen a doctor to create a treatment plan, some symptoms might still stick around. Here are some healthy changes you can implement in your life that might reduce those side effects.
Like any part of your body, your nerves require specific nutrients. Luckily, these vitamins and minerals are a part of most balanced diets. Each day, try to eat at least five servings of colorful fruits and veggies and supplement these with whole grains and lean proteins. Avoid alcohol, added sugar, saturated and trans fats, and sodium-heavy foods, as these can worsen symptoms.
Exercise gets your heart pumping, which sends oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, nourishing your peripheral nervous system. This can help push your blood to the far reaches of your body, such as your feet and toes, that might not be getting the best supply and are the most likely to experience neuropathy.
Smoking constricts your blood vessels, making it harder for your body to get a proper supply of blood and thus the nutrients it carries to your peripheral nervous system. Check out these three tips if you need help quitting.
Orthopedic shoes and arm and foot braces can help you prevent injury and feel more comfortable. Your doctor can advise you if you’re unsure whether you might benefit from an aid or what type is best for your symptoms.
Many cases of peripheral neuropathy are the result of underlying conditions, including diabetes, hormonal imbalances, and kidney and liver disorders. Speak with your doctor about the best way to manage yours, as this can often reduce the symptoms. If you experience numbness in your lower extremities, follow your doctor’s daily foot care recommendations.
If your peripheral neuropathy symptoms affect your quality of life, schedule an appointment with a St. Luke’s Health neurologist. Our team can work with you to customize a treatment plan for your specific needs.
NIH | Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet
The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy | Peripheral Neuropathy Nutrition
The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy | Exercise + Physical Therapy For Neuropathy
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