Alternative Care Cautions

Make no mistake about it. Distrust in conventional health care is at an all time high. And so must be alternative care cautions. The reasons for this are many, but perhaps the biggest fuel for dissent is that anyone with little skill and just a few resources can put up a page, website and appear very convincing, But just because someone presents an alternative to pharmaceuticals or even surgeries doesn’t mean its true.

Claims about health care these days are everywhere. This new diet fad, the latest treatment system for neuropathy, disease club memberships, essential oils fix every human malady and maybe even some new highly “researched” drug claims. And let’s not forget the cannabis now cures hangovers to cancer posts on social media. You name it. There is just so much everywhere turned into gazillion dollar businesses for many.

So how do you sort out if what you are considering for yourself or a loved one is really a form of valid alternative care or fraud?

Despite what the pundits want you to believe, instead of just jumping on the latest fad, a little time spent investigating the latest social media post that caught your eye, that Facebook “secret” group or video claims can save you lots of wasted time and money. Not to mention quite possibly your health!

Day after day in practice we see patients who wisely question claims made more often than not. And our team is always willing to help sort things out as best we can for you. But we also see some less skeptical than others fall for products, claims and sometimes even paid “memberships” that turn out to be ineffective and sometimes just blatant fraud. We recently have highlighted those for neuropathy and some stem-cell therapies here.

Here’s my point. We all have a choice. Instead of taking so much at face value, take some time to investigate whatever it is you may be considering whether it be at home or for professionally rendered services. Nowadays especially it’s so easy to fact check quickly across multiple sources.

So the take away here is, let’s be more careful consumers. And more caring Doctors. You’ll be glad you spent the time asking, is this alternative care or fraud?

You decide. Let our team help.

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Toxic Neuropathy – The Phantom That Could Be Causing Your Pain

Your cholesterol or blood pressure was elevated so you take multiple medications…

You work in a manufacturing environment…

You’ve been exposed to lead, mercury or thalium in your job…

You have a history of drug or alcohol abuse…

Any of these things can cause one of the most difficult types of peripheral neuropathy to diagnose –

If you have any of these problems with your feet:

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness

Or if you suffer from

  • Weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Shooting pain in your muscles

It is vitally important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis and start treatment as quickly as possible to try and prevent permanent nerve damage. This commonly includes extensive lab tests, electro-diagnostics like EMG/NCV, hair samples and maybe even tissue biopsy.

What Causes Toxic Neuropathy?

Toxic neuropathy is basically nerve damage caused by exposure to toxic substances.  The two most common causes of toxic neuropathy are drug abuse and exposure to chemicals on the job.[1] More and more though environmental sources such as mercury from heavy fish consumption for example must be considered. Any type of prolonged exposure to toxins in the environment can cause toxic neuropathy.  Even prolonged exposure to some organic insecticides or certain self-administered supplements can cause toxic neuropathy.  Some herbal medicines are particularly high in mercury and arsenic, both of which can cause peripheral neuropathy.

Why Can Toxic Neuropathy So Difficult to Diagnose?

Patients with toxic neuropathy often present with very subtle pain or mild weakness.  Because initial symptoms are fairly mild, patients may “blow them off” and it’s then harder to pinpoint a diagnosis.  When symptoms are more pronounced and painful, there may be a lag time between the exposure to the toxin and the onset of significant symptoms.  The symptoms come on so gradually that it’s harder for the patient to give the doctor a clear picture of what they may have been exposed to.

The difficulty in diagnosing toxic neuropathy is one of the reasons that it is so important to consult a doctor with legitimate training. Do your homework here. With experience & expertise and so often a team approach, he or she is more likely to pick up on subtleties that will allow a faster diagnosis.  Faster diagnosis means faster treatment and that means less chance for permanent nerve damage.

What is the Treatment for Toxic Neuropathy?

Our initial goal is always help make the most accurate diagnosis FIRST.

The next step is to devise a treatment plan. The first order of business will be to stop exposure to the suspected toxin(s). If the cause of your toxic neuropathy was environmental, we will work with you to formulate a plan to decrease or eliminate your exposure.

Then you can begin treatment but note these precautions:

  • If you are already suffering nerve deficits that are affecting your ability to perform basic daily tasks due to loss of sensation, you will need to take safety precautions to avoid falls.
  • Treatment is often in-office and home care simultaneously. Unless you do your part, good results will certainly be limited.

Remember, toxic neuropathy can develop even after short term exposure to toxic chemicals and some well known drugs.  If you are suffering from any of the symptoms we’ve discussed and you know or suspect you’ve been exposed to chemicals or you have or have had a drug problem, your doctor immediately.  Toxic neuropathy and chronic pain is often treatable but any kind of neuropathy is very unforgiving of delay and your nerve damage could be very dangerous.

For more information on diagnosis, treatment and coping with toxic neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at https://neuropathydr.com

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The Connection Between Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetic Neuropathy

Years ago, we called it pre-diabetes. Lately, the common term is Syndrome X. No matter what name we give it, metabolic syndrome is a potentially devastating diagnosis.

I would go so far as to say that metabolic syndrome is the number one most dangerous medical condition challenging our society today.

That’s because so many people start to take care of their diet, exercise, and other self care only AFTER they have been diagnosed with diabetes or diabetic neuropathy. And by then, for so many, it’s a major health crisis!

Metabolic syndrome lies hidden for years, causing damage to multiple major body systems. At our clinics, we see so many patients with diabetic neuropathy and chronic pain related to metabolic syndrome. In fact, it’s the likely cause of most cases of “idiopathic” (cause unknown) neuropathy.

Typically, metabolic syndrome tends to show up as a collection of subtle symptoms many years before a diabetes diagnosis. People with metabolic syndrome will notice a weight increase and thickening of the waist, along with small changes in their blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

The first thing you can do to protect yourself from the ravages of metabolic syndrome is to accept that a 20+ pound weight gain and spreading waistline is not a normal part of aging, and in fact can lead to very dangerous health complications. Being overweight is a risk factor for peripheral neuropathy in addition to many serious conditions, like heart disease.

Your next line of defense is to begin working with a medical specialist who is well trained in diagnosing and teaching you how to treat metabolic syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, and other disorders.

Remember that only you can be an effective health advocate for yourself.

Finally, let us help! There is lot’s of  of information here in our library and videos.

Next, be sure to share with your doctor the crucial lifestyle changes you are making that can have a significant  impact on your health related to metabolic syndrome and diabetic neuropathy.

Get your copy of our neuropathy owners manual, I Beat Neuropathy!

 

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Easy Home Tidiness Habits To Help You Reduce Stress

Coming home to a messy or cluttered house at the end of a long work day is not conducive to relaxation. It’s that simple. Stress over time can be devastating to our health, so it is important to make our homes into places of peace, a refuge from the cares of the outside world. Keeping your home tidy is an easy way to decrease stress.

Benefits of Reducing Stress

It’s no secret that stress is bad for our health. Not only can it lead to heart problems, there have been suggested links to cancer and dementia as well. Putting some time aside each day to relax, to have a peaceful space where you can let go of your worries, may aid your physical health. You may help reduce your risk of high blood pressure or even heart attacks if you take time to relax. Stress can impair memory and your ability to learn, and, as mentioned, may be a factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Aside from physical benefits, you may simply feel happier if you consciously choose to unwind each day. Stress may trigger relapses in depression and can lead to the buildup of cortisol, which can dampen the brain’s ability to produce serotonin and dopamine. Overall, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a space you can relax in every single day. Cleaning your home and making sure it is organized can help to create that environment.

Organization Practices

Part of keeping your home tidy and stress-free is having a good organization system in place. Lazy Susans can be used in more places than the kitchen cupboard. Clear up counter space in your bathroom by putting your lotions, face creams, toothpaste, or whatever you use daily on a lazy Susan to give you easy access and keep counters from being cluttered. Organize your linen closet by keeping sheets neat and folded together inside a pillow case. Add hooks or shelves to your bedroom to make sure you don’t leave jackets lying on floors, and books or purses askew on the bedside table.

Focus on the Bedroom

If you focus on creating a relaxing environment in one room, make it your bedroom. This should be your sanctuary from the rest of the world. Keep your chest of drawers tidy by using dividers so your clothes won’t be mixed and messy. Using multiple waste bins around the room can keep floors clear. If you are tight on space, you can transform your headboard into shelving, which can double as a nightstand as well. Whatever you do, make sure you keep your room feeling light and as stress-free as possible. This is the place you sleep, perhaps meditate, and should be a place of calm serenity. Adding scented candles in your preferred fragrance or using warmed oils can aid in relaxation. Hang soothing art and use light fixtures that make you feel at home in your bedroom.

A Home for Everything

It’s so easy, especially after having a long, tiring day, to strip your work day away when you get home. Your keys may go on the table and your shoes may wind up beneath the couch. Your purse may lie on the kitchen counter, and your jacket may end up half on a chair, half on the floor. This clutter can make a space, especially a small one, feel claustrophobic. Take fifteen minutes to assign “homes” for your high-use items. Make it a ritual to put things in their place right when you get home. Having a clear space with tidy walkways not only makes being home easier, but it feels like a breath of fresh air.

Your home should not add to anxiety or the stresses in your life. It should be your refuge and be somewhere you can safely unwind. By making little changes, you can ensure that your house is the perfect place to relax at the end of each day.

About Our Guest Author:

Alice Robertson began her career in the home organization industry as a professional house cleaner. After cleaning and organizing her clients’ homes for years, she decided to open her own home organization business. Over the years, she has built an impressive client list, helping to make spaces in homes and businesses more functional. She recently created tidyhome.info as a place to share the great cleaning and organizing advice she has developed over the years.

 

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The Best Neuropathy & Chronic Pain Treatment Strategies

If you or someone you love suffers from peripheral neuropathy or chronic pain, I don’t have to tell you how frustrating treatment options can be. You probably also are aware how limited many conventional treatments are. In reality, proper neuropathy and chronic pain treatment requires individualized attention. A haphazard approach just won’t do.

Unless an individualized treatment approach is taken right from the very beginning, and fully implemented, patients continue to suffer the pain, sleeplessness, often needlessly.

That is why the most important thing you can do is to work with a highly competent professional. But you also need to learn everything you can, and take proven action steps that will help improve the quality of your life. That is exactly why we publish the dietary and lifestyle posts every week.

Simply wishing the problem will go away, or masking it’s symptoms without attempting to treat the underlying cause is futile. A combined treatment approach really works best in the long term. The good news is, we now have available more effective and far less invasive treatment strategies for patients with chronic pain and peripheral neuropathy than ever before.

When these are combined with your own powerful self-care program the net result is many of our patients are now experiencing significant improvements in quality of life.

So we encourage you to talk with us, and learn about all the advances in the new technology that more and more neuropathy & chronic pain patients can now take advantage of!

Join our conversation with our staff today on Facebook by clicking HERE!

 

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Neuropathy Treatments That Really Work

Which neuropathy treatments may really work? Well, that so often depends upon what’s going on “underneath”. Which is why it is SO important to have a very comprehensive diagnostic work up FIRST. Guess work and internet “magic” fads are just plain dangerous.

Peripheral Neuropathy is the term used for the group of conditions that affect those nerves outside the brain and spinal cord.

Along with other forms of long standing pain, neuropathy is a major source of aggravation and loss of work. Billions of dollars a year are spent dealing with the devastation it can bring.

Twenty million plus people suffer from this condition, with several thousand new patients every year. And if we count the people who suffer from daily pain, that number well exceeds one hundred million.

There are many causes. The most common is in fact lifestyle related due to lack of fitness, obesity and metabolic syndrome.These also bring along the complications of their causes like diabetes or cancer. The most serious are genetic diseases.

And here lies the secret answer to better helping our neuropathy patients! The best treatments target the underlying problems whenever that is possible! And where it’s not, looking at legitimate studies and evidence to support a rational plan of care for you.

I know you understand how miserable life with neuropathy can be because you are reading this article. Maybe it’s for yourself, maybe it’s for someone you love very much.

You have seen just how miserable it can be! For some, its loss of sleep and being able to do the things they love. For others, the prospect of facing yet another day or sleepless night of pain, tingling numbness and burning is terrifying.

You just don’t know what to do!

Recently, even major medication trials have been stopped because of poor neuropathy treatment results.

That is just why we publish our series of articles talking in detail about some real solutions to this huge problem.

But most importantly, always touching base with the real simple things you can do to help take charge of your health and improve the quality of your life no matter where you are right now.

If we can help you in any way, please post your comments or visit our growing Facebook family of friends where we’ll be sharing every day.

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Habits and Routines: Powerful Neuropathy Treatment Weapons.

Effective neuropathy treatment plans are easier to implement with patients who have good habits and schedules.

It is a well-known fact that our daily habits contribute more to our long-term well being than any other single activity.

What does your daily routine consist of?

Of course, this includes things like exercise, drinking soda, tobacco usage, drug usage etc.

It also includes our mental activity. We have a choice to regularly have active mental stimulation such as reading, meditation and prayer versus passive activities such as long periods of watching television.

Unfortunately, most of us never take a hard look at our daily activities, and the impact they’re having upon our health.

Now when you’re young, these are relatively easy to ignore. But throw in advancing age, and some health challenges and it becomes a different ball game!

With chronic pain and neuropathy, sticking to good daily health habits becomes a much more difficult task.

Nonetheless what I can tell you after taking care of hundreds of patients is that those who have routines and habits fair far better.

One of the reasons for this is more effective neuropathy treatment plans are easier to implement with patients who have good habits and schedules.

Scheduling and timing of daily things such as meals, light activity, supplements, and even your own self-care goes along way.

One of the reasons this is true is your body has its own biorhythms.

Timing of certain supplements, and even self-treatment throughout the day can make a BIG difference in your outcome!

And these are all things we are able to assist you with.

Just make sure you engage us and ask for guidance with regard to the most effective neuropathy and chronic pain treatments and activities.

But most importantly ask and learn about the best scheduling, and timing.

Make a DAILY schedule for yourself, then stick to it!

Do you have a daily routine? Join our conversation today on Facebook by clicking HERE!

 

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The NeuropathyDR Diet and Chronic Pain Reduction Guide

How Do You Keep What You’re Eating From Eating You?

 

The key is beginning and staying with the NeuropathyDR diet program!
The most common nutrition question we get when patients begin to understand the impact their diet has on overall health is
“What do I eat, and when?”

So, what I’m doing today is to describe a typical day of meals and snacks for a patient who is following the NeuropathyDR Diet, which is simple, easy to modify and add variety to on a regular basis. Controlling body weight and blood sugar levels by diet, exercise and lifestyle has a profound effect on your ability to heal and stay as healthy as possible in so many diseases, neuropathy and other forms of chronic pain.

YOU NEED TO KNOW: More and more research says avoiding or minimizing animal products is crucial to health and longevity but you MUST be sure key blood nutrient levels are monitored!!! At a minimum, before starting care we urge you to let us check your blood count, (CBC), HbA1C, complete urine with microscopic exam, liver, kidney and thyroid function tests, Vitamin D, Folate, B-12, Iron and often B6 and homocysteine levels. DO NOT SELF DIAGNOSE & TREAT without expert guidance. Most of us may also require some supervised daily dietary supplementation.

Let’s start with Breakfast

It is very important to consume some protein within one half hour of arising. The reason for this is that it helps stimulate metabolism, protein synthesis, and mental alertness. It also helps us burn fuel more efficiently. My favorite breakfast is a vegetable protein shake, using a dairy-free protein powder with almond or coconut milk. Another good breakfast is a measured serving of gluten-free granola, taking care to keep carbohydrates between 15 and 20g maximum. You could also use a measured serving of gluten-free steel-cut oatmeal.

No more than three hours later, have a snack again, not exceeding 15g of carbs. This could include one half apple or banana, seven or eight almonds for other nuts, etc… Some packaged protein or nut bars can be fine if the carb content is low.

Lunch should universally be some form of salad or cooked vegetables with protein. 

You can mix this up with your favorite greens. You could use baby spinach or mixed greens. Microwaved organic broccoli is high in protein and can be mixed with a few vegan “meatballs”. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, some almonds or walnuts, You can use tofu or tempeh or other pant based protein from vegetarian sources.

No more than three hours later, have an additional snack, along the same lines as your mid-morning.

When dinnertime comes, this is the time to emphasize non-starchy vegetables

Some of the best are cooked spinach, broiled or sautéed asparagus, cabbage, beets, squashes, yams, and sweet potatoes, and so on. Keep starches, such as rice and white potatoes, to a minimum.

Be sure to get in a high-quality source of protein. Again, you could use one of the better vegan alternatives, just be careful of gluten and carb content.

Three hours after dinner, have another small healthy snack. This time, try a few gluten-free crackers with some almond or cashew butter. There are also low carbohydrate gluten-free cookies—just be careful not to eat the entire bag, which is easy to do! Another really good choice to satisfy your evening cravings is a small square or two of unsweetened dark chocolate.

So, what’s NOT here?

Well there is no dairy, cheese, or cows milk yogurt. There is no regular consumption of bread; there are no snack foods, soda, or chips. There are no ice creams or pies for dessert. There are no fruit juices, candy, or other sweets. Plant diets are best!

Consider periodic fasts with your doctors help and consent.

More and more research is showing value in periodic fasts of 8-12 hours and sometimes longer. But you CAN get into serious trouble if you are diabetic or on certain medications.

Do you see where we are going here? The fact of the matter is, poor choice of foods is probably responsible for more ill health and disease than any other single factor in the modern developed world.

The key is beginning and staying with the program. Don’t worry about the very rare weekend, or party. Just always stay trying not to go berserk. Be especially careful during holiday periods.

Most of us should consume half our body weight in ounces of clear liquids, most especially (filtered) water, during any 24-hour period.

Be especially careful not to overdo coffee and tea. Limit alcohol consumption to occasional low sugar wine or beer, and very rarely stronger adult beverages.

Once you make a shift, you will realize how simple, easy, and inexpensive this approach to eating–for all of us. 

For more information on coping with neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at https://neuropathydr.com.

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Fibromyalgia

If you suffer from pain, chances are good you’ve heard of fibromyalgia.  Nearly 4% of people suffer from fibromyalgia, making it one of the most common pain syndromes in the world!  Although women are 70% more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia than men, the condition hits everyone.  Like neuropathy, fibromyalgia can profoundly impact your quality of life, from mobility and strength to living with chronic pain.  Fibromyalgia actually presents as SFN (Small Fiber Neuropathy) at least 30% of the time, so misdiagnosis may be more common than once thought.

Symptoms

The most common indicator of fibromyalgia is pain and sensitivity to pressure on the skin.  Most sufferers describe the pain as stabbing and shooting, and it can occur all over the body.  Fibromyalgia pain is often worse in the mornings, and can vary based on restlessness and even temperature/humidity.

Neuropathic symptoms very frequently accompany fibromyalgia.  If you suffer from the condition, you may also be experiencing tingling in your extremities, numbness, the sensation of clothing running over your skin when none is there, and difficulty determining hot and cold in addition to the telltale pressure-sensitivity.  Of course, these symptoms can themselves contribute to other problems, such as sleep disturbance, disruption of appetite, and bladder-control problems.

Causes

A single cause of fibromyalgia is a point of considerable debate, and has never been decisively established; some researchers even point to the lack of physical abnormalities (although there are definitive nervous system changes) as evidence that it’s a distinct condition.  There are commonly-held theories, though, which include:

  • Dopamine dysfunction- one of the most common theories explains why fibromyalgia is so frequently found in cases where someone suffers from restless leg syndrome and sleeplessness.  These are conditions which result in part from insufficient dopamine in a certain part of the body.
  • Stress- Fibromyalgia frequently exists in  people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, fatigue, and depression.  This has led many researchers to conclude that there is a distinct link between stress and developing fibromyalgia.
  • Genetic predisposition- Recent research has suggested fibromyalgia may have a genetic component. The disorder is often seen in families, among siblings or mothers and their children.
  • Physical trauma- Physical trauma can act as a trigger for fibromyalgia, research suggests, since it tends to show up for the first time in many cases where a person is suffering from an acute illness or injury.


Treatment

Fibromyalgia is traditionally treated with a variety of medications ranging from simple pain relievers, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and even dopamine agonists.  Since the root cause of fibromyalgia is not entirely understood, treatment with pharmaceuticals is usually  trial and error at best.  Understandably, this has led many doctors and researchers over the past decade to advocate alternative, non-pharmaceutical treatments.

Some of the more modern methods for fibromyalgia treatment include exercise, cognitive behavior therapy, adjustments to diet and lifestyle, electrotherapy, and even massage therapy.  Extensive research over the past few years even points to chiropractic and other manual therapies and acupuncture as potential routes for effective treatment.

Our practices promote newer methodologies for treatment, and discourages care that could be ineffective, provide temporary fixes, or even lead to additional complications.

Because everyone who has fibromyalgia experiences different symptoms, it’s very important to have a one-on-one evaluation with someone who really knows the condition. Let our clinicians help!

 

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Neuropathy Nutrition

One main factor in many cases of peripheral neuropathy is diet.  You probably know that neuropathy is linked to diabetes and other conditions where daily intake of sugars and nutrients is important, but your diet can also influence the condition of nerves in more direct ways, such as in cases where a nutritional deficiency is causing neuropathic damage. We call this Neuropathy Nutrition.

Perhaps the most common links between neuropathy and nutrition is a deficiency in B vitamins, particularly vitamin B-12.  Fight neuropathy by eating foods that are all high in B vitamins.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry!  There are plant foods that contain substantial amounts of B-12 (GREAT Reference HERE).

Vegetables are high in nutrients that have been shown to be effective treating neuropathy.  Additionally, if you suffer from diabetes, fresh produce can mellow your blood sugar levels.  If numbness or pain in your extremities is severe, keep pre-cut vegetables and limited fruits at the ready, so you don’t have to worry about the stress involved with preparing them! Just be careful of too much fruit sugars. This means a serving is 1/2 apple, banana, etc. Most non-starchy vegetables like greens and asparagus especially are great for most of us.

Foods that are high in Vitamin E are also good for neuropathy nutrition, according to neurology.com.  A deficiency of Vitamin E can happen in cases where malabsorption or malnutrition are taking place, such as the case with alcoholic neuropathy.  Whole grains and nuts are all excellent sources of vitamin E.

Lean proteins are also an important part of a healthy diet for people with neuropathy.  Saturated fats and fried foods increase risk of diabetes and heart disease, in addition to aggravating nerve decay from lack of nutrients. If you suffer from diabetes, lean proteins also help to regulate blood sugar levels.

For some types of neuropathy, research shows that specific antioxidants may help slow or even reverse nerve damage that has not existed for too long a time.  For HIV sensory neuropathy, Acetyl-L-Carnitine has demonstrated good results, and Alpha lipoic acid is being studied for its effects on diabetic nerve damage.  But PLEASE, do not self treat! Get an accurate diagnosis and work with a professional armed with the latest research before beginning any supplementation or treatment, even with antioxidants. Let our team help.

Use Tools Like Journaling and Blood Sugar Monitoring Every Day…

So what are the best ways to monitor what you are neuropathy nutrition?  The easiest way is to make lasting changes it to keep a food journal.  Record everything you eat at meals, for snacks, and any vitamin supplements you might be taking.  Your journal will help you and your NeuropathyDR® clinician determine if your diet could be a factor in your neuropathy symptoms!  As a bonus, food journaling is a great way to be accountable for your overall nutrition, as well as to help avoid dietary-related conditions other than neuropathy.  If you have a goal for weight loss, weight gain, or better overall energy, those are other areas in which keeping a food journal can help!  Other ways to monitor what you eat include cooking at home as opposed to going out to restaurants, keeping a shopping list instead of deciding what groceries to buy at the store, and consulting a qualified NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best ways to meet your specific needs.

Dietary supplements (when properly prescribed and monitored by blood testing) may also help manage neuropathic symptoms and nerve degeneration.  Supplementing with only the highest quality, liquid distilled fish oil can help supply Omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for brain and neurologic help. Many other types of supplements can be beneficial if you suffer from neuropathy; consult us directly for specific recommendations.

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Patients and Doctors are invited to call us at 781-659-7989 at 12:30 EST Monday, Wednesday and Thursday to talk with the next available senior clinician.

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