Peripheral Neuropathy Explained: A Loss of Signal with the Mind


November 8, 2022

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Burning, tingling, numbing, and stabbing pain in the fingers and toes; a loss of balance and hand coordination—these are all signs of peripheral neuropathy, a condition that millions of Americans suffer through every day.

Those patients who experience these symptoms have difficulty understanding what these sensations mean and how they are related to their underlying chronic health conditions. Many of them have never suffered a major injury or had severe health problems, and they still experience the debilitating pain of peripheral neuropathy.

An Outsider’s Perspective On The Causes Of Peripheral Neuropathy

For an outsider—someone who has never experienced the condition—the symptoms seem even more confusing and odd. What’s even more outlandish for outsiders is when they hear that the most probable cause of these sensations is type 2 diabetes. How can someone’s diet and blood sugar translate to pain in the nerves at the ends of their body?

Granted, peripheral neuropathy is not only caused by type 2 diabetes; it can also be caused by severe accidents or injuries.

However, with the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy being type 2 diabetes, an increase in type 2 diabetes prevalence in the population directly causes an increase in peripheral neuropathy prevalence, along with a diminished quality of life for everyone around those who are suffering from peripheral neuropathy pain.

The Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes

In a study conducted in 2020, the shocking number of type 2 diabetes diagnoses and the increased trajectory of diagnoses demonstrates the undeniable and inevitable increase in peripheral neuropathy.

The study concluded that type 2 diabetes had a “. . . global prevalence in adults in 2017 of 8.8% of the world population, with the anticipation of a further increase to 9.9% by 2045” (Standl, 2020).

At this time, the world population suffering from type 2 diabetes is ostensibly at 9% and with a population of seven billion people, six-hundred-and-thirty-million people have been diagnosed with the condition.

The Link Between Type 2 Diabetes And Peripheral Neuropathy

Physicians everywhere have declared type 2 diabetes an epidemic, and because of its associated and damaging symptoms, the threat is real.

But why diabetes? How is the condition related to the undeniable nerve damage caused by peripheral neuropathy?

We must first look at how the underlying condition is diagnosed.

Type 2 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed by identifying the level of insulin that is created to balance out the body’s sugar intake. It is the pancreas that lowers blood sugar by producing the insulin hormone. When blood sugar rises after a meal, insulin is produced to decrease or keep blood sugar in check and in balance.

As the body takes in more sugar, more insulin is required. If the body takes in its maximum intake of sugar, there will not be enough insulin to decrease or balance the amount of blood sugar in your body.

Eventually, the body becomes unaffected by the level of insulin that has been added or naturally produced, and unless blood sugars are lowered, the body will continue to experience the myriad complications associated with diabetes. These underlying conditions associated with diabetes are often referred to as “insulin resistance“.

How Insulin Resistance Causes Damage To Neurons

Physicians Liumeng Jian and Guangda Yang confirmed in a recent study in 2020 that “Diabetes-related metabolic factors such as increased glucose, decreased insulin, and increased lipids produce changes underlying the development of diabetic neuropathy. Injury to neurons, microvascular endothelium, and Schwann cells in DM contributes to the pathogenesis of neuropathy.” (2020)

These changes associated with diabetes and insulin resistance are damaging to patients’ neurons (the cells responsible for communicating sensory experiences to the brain). The damage inflicted on neurons can account for patients losing feeling in their toes, feet, and sometimes fingers or hands.

Symptoms Of Nerve Damage From Type 2 Diabetes

Now that you know how diabetes-related metabolic factors can contribute to the damage of your neurons. With that in mind, the following are a few of the primary symptoms of nerve damage caused by type 2 diabetes:

Touch Sensitivity

It is common for peripheral nerve damage to cause touch sensitivity. It can affect your hands, arms, legs, and feet. This sensitivity is often described as a “tingling” or “pins and needles” sensation that usually begins in the feet. The sensation has also been described as feeling like you’re wearing gloves or socks. This sensitivity can grow quite extreme, even causing discomfort at the slightest touch like that of bedsheets at night.

Muscle Weakness

Peripheral nerve damage is also linked to muscle weakness. Your peripheral nervous system includes your motor nerves, which are responsible for your skeletal and somatic movements. Because type 2 diabetes can damage your motor nerves, it can lead to muscle weakness and various other issues, such as painful cramps, muscle shrinking, and uncontrollable muscle twitching.

Balance Problems

In addition to touch sensitivity, damage to your sensory nerves caused by type 2 diabetes can result in issues with your balance. In more specific terms, it can result in the loss of sense of position, which makes it more difficult to perform complex movements, such as walking or maintaining your balance when your eyes are closed.

Diagnosis of Peripheral Neuropathy Based on Diabetic Symptoms

Doctors will often check for signs of peripheral neuropathy by running a soft tool over the surface of the patient’s toes and feet. The doctor may then test for the neurons’ response to sharp pain from a needle prick as well as the differences between heat and cold.

If patients experience little to no sensation from these methods, the doctor may diagnose the patient with peripheral neuropathy. There are many other diagnostic tests that may be employed to assist in the diagnosis and severity.

In the end, the connections between peripheral neuropathy and type 2 diabetes are undeniable, but the condition of peripheral neuropathy– as mentioned previously– can also be caused by significant physical damage due to injury.

Regardless of the cause of peripheral neuropathy, the damage to the neurons that communicate pain to the brain is what signals a clear diagnosis of the condition.

Damaged Neurons Cause The Loss Of Signal With The Mind

Peripheral neuropathy is frustrating and, at times, confusing. Even with a basic understanding of the condition and why it happens, patients do not understand why they sometimes feel numbness in their feet while their hands feel on fire.

Many times, patients will express, with understandable frustration, their loss of balance when getting out of bed every morning. Loss of balance is one of the primary elements of reduced quality of life. It creates anxiety and patients are less willing to engage in activity, exercise, and movement in general due to this loss of balance.

Loss of sleep is another highly critical reduction in quality of life that is directly associated with pain caused by peripheral neuropathy.

The best way to understand your body’s differing reactions is to view its peripheral nerves as radio waves that have lost connection.

Sometimes, when peripheral nerves are damaged, the signal between the damaged nerves and your brain will become static and fuzzy. The message being sent from the nerves isn’t clear to the brain, and so the brain attempts to interpret the message to the best of its ability.

It’s not the brain that is damaged, it’s the nerve. And so, as the brain receives these messages from the periphery of the body, it will consistently lose signals and ask the nerves if they are correctly interpreting things: “Are we in pain? Are we asleep? Do we need to be concerned?”

But the fact is, the nerves have lost signal and are out of the brain’s range. Unless effective treatment is applied, the damage will remain, and the nerves will misfire and send false signals to the brain.

An Effective Treatment From Relatyv: Neuralgesia

Regardless of the causes, history, or symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, there are few effective treatments that can reduce the pain and the problems associated with this condition.

Relatyv offers a solution that works to relieve pain, restore health, and magnify the quality of life through a proprietary treatment protocol called Neuralgesia. Hundreds of patients have experienced relief from the pains and irritations of peripheral neuropathy through next-generation Neuralgesia treatment protocols.

Patients who may have suffered for years or even decades with treatments that hardly worked or stopped working overtime can now get a next-generation pain management treatment for peripheral neuropathy that serves to relieve pain, restore health, and magnify the quality of life. Many patients experience immediate relief and regain function in their extremities after one session.

In some cases, patients report being pain-free after a single treatment session for the first time in years and also report amazing quality-of-life successes like being able to sleep through the night again for the first time in years.

Neuralgesia protocols are a one-hour treatment twice a week. Neuralgesia uses a combination of high-pulse electrical stimulation and specialized hydration therapy to produce pain relief effects that may last for months and months after a completed course of treatment.

Patients who start the Neuralgesia treatment protocol with Relatyv are often amazed that they have reduced or relieved pain, they feel better all around, they want to move and get exercise and they feel like their quality of life is back, not just better, but a magnified quality of life.

This is what Relatyv aims to accomplish for all its patients using our proprietary Neuralgesia therapy protocols.

About the Author

Will is a healthcare executive, innovator, entrepreneur, inventor, and writer with a wide range of experience in the medical field. Will has multiple degrees in a wide range of subjects that give depth to his capability as an entrepreneur and capacity to operate as an innovative healthcare executive.

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