Since Peripheral neuropathy affects people of so many ages, physical conditions, and other variables, it can often be confusing for your patients to find consistent information on their own. Changes in medical research resulting in outdated data, “best guesses” on the parts of sufferers and medical practitioners being reproduced as facts, and just plain likely-sounding rumors all contribute to a host of very basic misinformation about neuropathy. Your patients rely on you to help them differentiate neuropathy fact from fiction. This week, we at NeuropathyDR® will be taking a look at some of the most common rumors we’ve found, and will do our best to help you set the record straight!
Isn’t neuropathy only found in people with diabetes?
No. While neuropathy is common in diabetic patients and is popularly associated with diabetes, neuropathy affects chemotherapy recipients, those suffering from injuries or illness, people who have lost limbs, even sufferers of common minor ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). If your patients complain of pain, don’t rule out neuropathy as a possible cause. Of course, be especially on-the-lookout for neuropathic symptoms in patients with diabetes, radioactive therapy, or other commonly-associated causes!
Neuropathy is a natural result of aging, right? As people get older, they just start to hurt!
Not necessarily. Neuropathy is more common among seniors, but it affects patients of all ages. Just because your patients are getting older doesn’t mean neuropathy is a fact of life, either. Because neuropathy can be caused by injuries, complications with medication, or metabolic issues (among dozens of other causes), taking the right steps early can keep patients from suffering many neuropathic symptoms as they get older. NeuropathyDR® can help you develop treatment plans that will help patients stay healthy as they age.
My patient’s pain isn’t anything like other cases of neuropathy I’ve seen. They must have something else!
Neuropathy can present itself as tingling, sharp pains, numbness, loss of motor control, and even very dangerous complications in organ function. The term describes many different sensations of pain in various areas on the body, so cases can vary wildly from case to case. Neuropathy is more treatable the earlier it is caught, so don’t take chances! If your patient has symptoms, be sure to examine all possible causes and presentations before ruling out neuropathy.
There’s no cure, so if my patient has neuropathy, they just have to learn to live with it.
Well, yes and no. Although most who suffer from nerve damage and neuropathic pain will have to live with some adjustments to their lifestyle and maybe some discomfort (there is, to date, no overall cure), almost all neuropathy patients can keep their symptoms from getting worse and, in most cases, even reverse the symptoms. A combination of appropriate exercise, good diet, and proper medication can help ensure that you’ll live a happy, normal life. Whatever you do, don’t let a patient’s neuropathy go untreated!
This website my patient found says they can cure her neuropathy!
Tell her to be careful! Even though there are some well-meaning, informed, and helpful websites for people with neuropathy, there are also scammers who will try to exploit your patient’s pain and cash in on her desire to be neuropathy-free. As her clinician, she trusts you to help her identify false or harmful claims.
Inform your patient to be especially wary of any claims of a cure—no actual cure for peripheral neuropathy is known to exist, so any claims to that effect are insincere. Where treatments are concerned, emphasize that it is almost impossible for a stranger over the internet or phone to develop a treatment plan—a doctor is required to make responsible decisions in the treatment of neuropathy. Any products or treatments claiming to help without even knowing your patient’s specific symptoms are most likely ineffective at best, and could be dangerous. Make sure your patient knows to contact you before they begin treatments of any kind! If you have questions about identifying dubious claims about neuropathy treatments, NeuropathyDRProfessionals(TM) is here to help.
Avoiding some of these myths might seem like common sense, but it can be tricky for desperate or discouraged patients to sort out the good advice from the fiction and hearsay. Above all, it is important that you, as their authority, have good information! Don’t believe everything you hear or read. NeuropathyDRProfessionals(TM) is your best resource for neuropathy-related information. Contact us and we can answer your questions and keep you up-to-date on the best genuine developments.