The peripheral neuropathy patient population is growing.
That’s understandable when you look at the increase in
• Autoimmune diseases like lupus, Guillain-Barre’ Syndrome
But there is another fast growing peripheral neuropathy patient population that often goes unnoticed.
Patients with sexually transmitted diseases or STD’s such as:
• Genital Herpes (or any one of the large number of herpes-simplex viruses)
• Hepatitis B and D
• HPV (Human papillomavirus infection)
Or some combination of these diseases.
These patients can be some of your most challenging. Many are reluctant to discuss or even acknowledge that they have an STD. By the time they’ve developed symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and seek treatment from a specialist in treating neuropathy, they could be facing serious nerve damage.
You could be playing beat the clock to head off permanent damage. Your first order of business is to educate them on peripheral neuropathy, how they developed it and what they need to do to help themselves.
Explaining How Their STD Caused Peripheral Neuropathy
Many sexually transmitted diseases are caused by viruses or bacteria. Viruses and bacteria can attack nerve tissue and severely damage sensory nerves. If those nerves are damaged, your patient is going to feel the pain, quickly.
The virus that causes HIV, in particular, can cause extensive damage to the peripheral nerves. Often, the progression of the disease can actually be tracked according to the specific type of neuropathy the patient develops. Painful polyneuropathy affecting the feet and hands can be one of first clinical signs of HIV infection.
Any of these viruses or bacteria can cause nerve damage and the resulting peripheral neuropathy. Many patients understand the more common symptoms of their illness but they don’t understand why they would have nerve damage. Once they understand exactly why they’re having
• Muscle weakness
• Muscle cramps
• Inability to feel sensation
• Numbness or tingling
• Loss of reflexes
• Blood pressure problems
• Sweating too much or too little
• Heart rate issues and inability to feel chest pain
• Bladder control issues
• Diarrhea or constipation
• Difficulty swallowing because your esophagus doesn’t function properly
• Erectile dysfunction
• Heart burn
• Inability to feel sensation in your hands and feet
They will better understand why you’re recommending the treatment your recommending. Chances are that when they were diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease, they understood how it would affect their sex life and the more intimate aspects of their lives. They had no idea that their STD could cause serious nerve damage as well. Understanding exactly how these illnesses can cause peripheral neuropathy and serious nerve damage will make for a much more compliant patient.
The Best Course of Treatment
If your patient presents with any of these diseases and they’ve developed peripheral neuropathy, start treatment immediately. The earlier you start treatment, the less likely they will be to develop permanent nerve damage. Your NeuropathyDR® protocol offers one of the best chances these patients have for minimizing or even avoiding permanent nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy.
In addition to the NeuropathyDR® protocol and specific drug therapies designed for the particular condition, you also need to work with your patient on lifestyle issues. Specifically,
• Getting plenty of rest
• Pacing themselves and limiting their activities
• Exercising regularly – walking, swimming and yoga are great exercises for neuropathy patients
• Take care of their skin and limiting exposure to the sun
• Quitting smoking
• Eating a healthy, well balanced diet
• Keeping high blood pressure under control
• Always practicing safe sex to protect their partners and themselves
As a NeuropathyDR® clinician you can offer these patients the best chance possible for avoiding permanent nerve damage from their sexually transmitted disease.
Once you’re trained in the NeuropathyDR® treatment protocol and ready serve this challenging and fast growing patient population, let us help you reach them.
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