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Designing Treatments for Lupus Patients

 

As physicians, we’re accustomed to a certain amount of variety in treating different patients with the same illness.

After all, we’re treating individuals.

But when you take on lupus patients, you’re taking the concept of variety in symptoms and outcomes to a whole new level.

Granted, there are specific symptoms to the various types of lupus, but no two lupus patients are the same.

Lupus is an ever changing illness with periods of activity and rest that are as different as the patients they affect.

Those differences can make developing a treatment plan difficult to say the least.

And when you add peripheral neuropathy caused by lupus to the mix of symptoms[1], you have an even more complex set of issues to treat and, hopefully, stay ahead of.

If you have any hope of preventing serious neuropathy complications in your lupus patients, you have to be diligent in monitoring your patients’ symptoms and, even more importantly, your patients have to be very conscious of their symptoms and keep you advised of any changes as soon as they happen.

That means you need to educate your lupus patients on their illness and peripheral neuropathy.

Helping Patients Lupus and Peripheral Neuropathy

Because the peripheral nervous system can be affected by lupus, every system of the body that is regulated by the peripheral nervous system can be damaged[2].

That means the nerves that control involuntary body functions like heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and perspiration.  Your patients need to understand that their body many not be able to regulate their heart rate or blood pressure, they might not be able to properly digest food,  their  kidneys can be damaged and they could develop urinary problems.

And even worse, lupus can cause serious problems with inflammation.  That can lead to:

–          Inflammation of the sac around the heart

–          Diseases of the heart valves

–          Inflammation of the actual heart muscle

–          Inflammation of the tissue around the lungs or pleurisy

Now, imagine having any of these issues and having peripheral neuropathy, too…

The peripheral nervous system isn’t functioning properly and can’t send the proper signals to the brain to let them know they have a problem.

It’s easy to see why this could be serious.  By educating your patients on these possible problems and the symptoms they present early on, they can keep a watchful eye out for any symptoms and get in to you see you before they have a potentially deadly problem.

Treating Lupus Patients with Peripheral Neuropathy

Once you take a very thorough history and physical (preferably one following the NeuropathyDR® protocol for lupus patients), you’ll have a better handle on your patient’s condition.  Pay particular attention to their symptoms, when they began, the severity of the discomfort, and any and all medications they currently take (including over the counter medications, herbal supplements or vitamins).

Once you’ve complete the history and physical, the next step in the NeuropathyDR® protocol will be to order some tests. Depending upon your patient’s actual symptoms and which systems seem to be affected, these tests might include:

∙           Neurological exam

∙           Electromyography

∙           Nerve conduction velocity test

∙           Antinuclear antibody test

∙           Blood tests

∙           Urine test

∙           Skin biopsy

Once the tests are completed and you determine your patient has peripheral neuropathy associated with lupus, you can design a specific treatment program based on your patients’ specific symptoms and adjust it as they enter periods of remission or as their symptoms change.

Lupus is not curable and your patient should understand this from the outset.  Your NeuropathyDR® treatment protocol should focus on relieving pain by reducing inflammation, repairing any nerve damage with nerve stimulation, slowing joint and bone damage and improving your patients’ ability to function with their disease.

Focus on:

∙           Rest and stress management.

∙           Exercise programs designed specifically for your individual patient based on their physical limitations.

∙           Pain medication as needed.

∙           Drug therapy as needed.

∙           Safety precautions to deal with the possible loss of sensation, especially in the hands and feet, due to peripheral neuropathy.

The NeuropathyDR® protocol is ideally suited to treating lupus and the peripheral neuropathy it can cause.

Early intervention with a physician well versed in treating lupus and peripheral neuropathy, like a NeuropathyDR® clinician, is their best course of action.  While you can’t cure them, you can help them achieve a better quality of life and lessen the chance of severe and possibly fatal complications.

When you’re trained and ready to work with them, let them know you’re there.

For more tips on growing a successful chiropractic, physical therapy or pain management practice, log on to http://perfectpractice web.com to download a FREE E-Book Copy of my 5 star Amazon  “Living and Practicing by Design” at http://perfectpracticeweb.com.

 

 

 


Hope for Your Patients With Infectious Diseases

 

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[1]:

•     Extreme fatigue

•     Headaches

•     Painful, swollen joints

•     Anemia

•     Fever and chills

•     Swelling in your feet, legs or hands

•     Pleurisy

•     Rashes

•     Hair loss

If they have lupus, Lyme Disease[2], 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

•     Burning

•     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

•     Bloating

•     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.

For more tips on growing a successful chiropractic, physical therapy or pain management practice, log on to http://perfectpractice web.com to download a FREE E-Book Copy of my 5 star Amazon  “Living and Practicing by Design” at http://perfectpracticeweb.com.