What can you do for your patients with infectious diseases?
They’re miserable and their misery is understandable.
Look at what they’re dealing with:
• Extreme fatigue
• Painful, swollen joints
• Fever and chills
• Swelling in your feet, legs or hands
• Hair loss
If they have lupus, Lyme Disease, Varicella Zoster (aka Shingles), HIV/AIDS, Legionnaire’s Disease or any other infectious disease caused by a virus or bacteria, these symptoms can be just the beginning of their problems.
If they’ve delayed treatment, the next problem they could be faced with is
peripheral neuropathy and everything that comes with it. Other than getting busy treating them to avoid peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage, one of the first things you need to do is educate your patient.
Explaining How Their Illness Can Cause Peripheral Neuropathy
Many infectious 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 viral or bacterial disorders can cause indirect nerve damage and bring on conditions that we refer to as autoimmune disorders. Autoimmune disorders cause the body’s immune system to go on the offensive and attack its own tissues. These assaults by the body on the body damage the nerve’s protective covering. Think of it as “internal friendly fire” – misdirected but potentially serious.
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
• Heart burn
• Inability to feel sensation in your hands and feet
They will better understand why you’re recommending the treatment your recommending. Hearing that they have a virus or bacterial infection can be very misleading – they think all they need is medication and they’ll be fine. Understanding exactly how these illnesses can cause peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage will make for a much more compliant patient.
The Best Course of Treatment
If your patient presents with any of these diseases, start treatment immediately. The earlier you start treatment, the less likely they will be to develop peripheral neuropathy and nerve damage. Your NeuropathyDR® protocol offers one of the best chances these patients have for minimizing or even avoiding 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
A Few Words To The Wise
Each of these conditions is very different and caused by different organisms. For that reason, patients with different infectious diseases must be treated differently. They’re nerve damage has resulted from different causes.
There are a few things to consider when treating these patients:
• For female patients, it’s particularly important to be cautious about birth control. Any of these infectious diseases can cause serious problems during pregnancy.
• Make sure they receive vaccinations for flu and pneumonia to help prevent additional or secondary infections that could compromise their progress.
• If they’ve been treated with corticosteroids for inflammation, make sure they are closely monitored for osteoporosis.
• If your patient has lupus, make sure they receive regular eye exams. Lupus can have an adverse effect on vision.
• Lyme disease is on the rise so educate your patient population on the warning signs of infection – a tick bite followed by a bulls-eye shaped rash close to the bite site.
As a NeuropathyDR® clinician you can offer these patients the best chance possible for avoiding permanent nerve damage from their infectious disease.
Once you’re trained in the NeuropathyDR® treatment protocol and ready serve this challenging patient population, let us help you reach them.
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