(Natural News) Peripheral neuropathy is a nerve disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system. Peripheral nerves send information to the brain and spinal cord, and damage to these nerves can lead to painful or otherwise unusual sensations. Nerve damage can result from traumatic injuries, infections, exposure to toxins, genetics and metabolic conditions like diabetes.
People with peripheral neuropathy may experience tingling, hot and cold sensations or shooting pains in the affected area. The symptoms of the disorder commonly begin in the hands and feet as peripheral neuropathy often affects these regions.
The following lifestyle changes can help prevent peripheral neuropathy: (h/t to MedicalNewsToday.com)
Make dietary changes
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of peripheral neuropathy in the United States, with up to 70 percent of people with diabetes having the condition. Dietary changes that lower your blood sugar levels can help prevent peripheral neuropathy. These include:
- Eat more foods rich in antioxidants, like blueberries, walnuts, fatty fish and flaxseed oil.
- Eat more fiber-rich foods like barley, oatmeal, beans, apples and citrus fruits.
- Avoid eating more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
- Limit sweets, processed snacks and white bread products like pasta.
- Limit saturated and trans fats.
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol intake.
Exercise helps combat several health issues that cause peripheral neuropathy. For instance, exercise can reduce diabetes by helping the body manage blood sugar levels. It also promotes muscle tone and reduces pressure on the peripheral blood vessels, which can benefit people at risk of neuropathy. Exercise regularly and try to get at least 30 minutes to one hour of exercise at least three times a week.
Smoking increases your risk of peripheral neuropathy as it narrows and damages the peripheral blood vessels and restricts blood flow. It can also raise your blood sugar levels and lead to Type 2 diabetes. The chemicals in cigarettes harm cells in your body and trigger inflammation, causing the cells to stop responding to insulin. Moreover, smokers have a higher risk of belly fat, which increases their risk for Type 2 diabetes even if they’re not overweight.
Boost your vitamin intake
The following vitamins and supplements can boost nerve health and help prevent peripheral neuropathy:
- B-complex vitamins – Vitamin B-12 deficiency can damage the protective coating of nerves and vitamin B-9 deficiency can impair nerve health.
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can reduce inflammation linked to nerve damage.
- Acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) – Research shows that ALC may help with peripheral neuropathy resulting from chemotherapy.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – These healthy fats help reduce inflammation and support a healthy nervous system.
- Glutamine – Glutamine is an amino acid that may help protect the nervous system.
Practice relaxation techniques
Research shows that high levels of stress hormones can impair the function of pancreatic cells that produce insulin. This can contribute to Type 2 diabetes and therefore promote peripheral neuropathy.
Simple relaxation techniques like deep breathing and progressive relaxation can help you manage stress and nerve pain. You can also consider advanced forms of meditation like yoga and tai chi, and alternative therapies like acupuncture and chiropractic techniques. These can promote healing in addition to relaxing the nerves. (Related: Researchers determine local acupuncture needling is important for treating peripheral neuropathy successfully.)
Be sure to do these lifestyle interventions in combination with each other to get their full benefits and prevent peripheral neuropathy.
Read more natural tips to prevent nerve damage at Naturopathy.news.